In a milestone announcement, today the FDA approved the use of Truvada, the first drug to be used for HIV prevention in the 30-plus year battle against the virus. To be used as part of safe sex practices and continued testing, the drug, which was first approved in 2004, has already shown promise in preventing infection, with some figures placing protection rates as high as 90 percent.
In an effort to outfox antibiotic resistance, a team of researchers based out of U.C. Berkeley--and including none other than Nobel laureate Steven Chu--want to build a wrecking ball that tears down bacterial cities. It’s not quite there yet, but in a paper released today the research group announced that via a new imaging technique it has for the first time revealed the structure of these biofilms -- and where they are vulnerable to attack.
In another leap forward for regenerative/transplant medicine, an international team of surgeons working in Russia have for the first time transplanted completely synthetic pieces of larynx into two patients in procedures that mark the first steps toward creating and transplanting an entire larynx from scratch.
When a person stops breathing--be it from an obstruction in the airway or something like acute lung failure--the clock is decidedly ticking. Deprived of oxygen for long enough, a person can go into cardiac arrest. Brain damage sets in. Without oxygen, things go south pretty quickly. So a team of researchers at Boston Children’s hospital has designed a kind of injectable oxygen that can be quickly introduced to a person’s bloodstream to oxygenate the blood, buying paramedics or other medical personnel perhaps as much as half an hour to remedy an oxygen flow problem.
A daily shot is still the most effective, if most uncomfortable, form of treatment for many people with a chronic illness. Most pills work too slowly to be of much use for, say, someone with diabetes. But one company is planning a solution: packing ultrasound tech into a pill to orally deliver drugs as efficiently as a shot.
An interesting story in the New York Times today explores the ease with which noninvasive prenatal diagnostics can now determine paternity, even when the pregnancy is only eight or nine weeks old. Multiple companies are now offering such tests, which require only blood samples from the mother and from the potential father to determine paternity long before the pregnancy culminates.
While serving as an army medic during Operation Desert Storm, Richard Schwartz became all too familiar with gunshot wounds, particularly shots to the pelvis and upper legs. Enemies would target that region because body armor doesn’t always cover it. Conventional tourniquets don’t work around the abdomen—it’s impossible to tie them tight enough to cut off blood flow from the aorta. Soldiers with “junctional hemorrhages” may have only a few minutes before they bleed to death.
Think a trip to the pharmacy is overwhelming? Try this: One million billion billion billion billion billion billion. That’s a 1 with 60 zeroes after it. That’s the number of potential new medicines that could still be made, according to a new study. It may be more than the number of stars in the universe.
By Susan DuPosted 06.05.2012 at 4:04 pm 8 Comments
Only under special circumstances. “I mean, it doesn’t just happen to any Joe Schmo walking down the street holding his urine too long,” says Scott Eggener, a urologist at the University of Chicago. “But for someone who has had major surgery or cancer or had radiation in his bladder, or whose bladder had been removed and we make them a new bladder out of intestine, then yes—those are situations where the bladder can rupture.”
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, the saying goes, and a new algorithm will test that formula by predicting what will be wrong with a patient in the future, based on his or her past — and that of everyone else.