Over the weekend, health officials around the world shifted into high gear as a deadly strain of swine flu began working its way around the globe. On Saturday, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) issued a health advisory about the flu, while the World Health Organization (WHO) held an emergency meeting, declaring that "current events constitute a public health emergency of international concern."
When it comes to viruses, especially the serious kind that can make you bleed from your eye sockets and wipe out entire villages, most people naturally prefer to keep their distance. Not Nathan Wolfe. The 39-year-old epidemiologist has spent the past 10 years hunting them down in the jungles of Southeast Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. By collecting thousands of blood samples from wild animals and the people who live in close contact with them, Wolfe and his team have uncovered new viruses related to HIV and smallpox. He's even documented how these animal-borne killers leap to humans, with blood serving as a vector in transmitting viruses from slaughtered animals to hunters.
The pandemic has hit. The flu has infected millions of people, civilization is on the brink of collapse and there’s only so much vaccine to go around. The plan calls for saving the most vital members of society, the ones who can help save us from the plague. The plan says vaccinate doctors. The plan is wrong.
One can hardly fathom the horror of life in the Congo Free State during the turn of the last century when native Africans suffered genocide at the hand of Belgium’s King Leopold II. In those conditions, no one would have noticed people dying of a strange disease that would not be named for another hundred years. No one would have noticed people dying of AIDS.
MIT scientists say they've found a new way to silence disease-causing genes in specific tissues using RNA interference
By Gregory MonePosted 04.28.2008 at 12:55 pm 10 Comments
For years scientists have been touting a disease-fighting technique called RNA interference. The idea behind it is pretty simple: By piggybacking on the body's own system for silencing genes, researchers think they could stop troublesome proteins from being produced, and, as a result, halt the damage those proteins cause. The trick, though, is that scientists have had a hard time figuring out how to make RNAi, as it's known, work on specific tissues.
A new device encourages patients to take their prescribed pills, and tells on them if they don't
By Gregory MonePosted 04.23.2008 at 11:17 am 1 Comment
University of Florida scientists have developed a new gadget that basically annoys patients into taking their prescribed drugs, then tests their breath to ensure that they've actually swallowed the necessary pill. When it's time to take your medication, the machine beeps. Ignore it and it beeps again. In fact, it gets louder and louder until you actually respond—after a predetermined time, if you haven't swallowed your meds, it sends a message to the clinical trial coordinator. The device also performs a breath test that picks up the presence of a chemical tracer.