Autism disorders increased by 57% in just four years, the CDC today reported.
By the end of 2006, one in 110 U.S. kids had an autism disorder diagnosed by age 8: one in 70 boys and one in 315 girls, reflecting a nearly fivefold higher risk for males.
The new CDC estimate of autism prevalence, obtained from analysis of child evaluation records in 11 states, is virtually identical to autism numbers reported for 2007 from a huge telephone survey reported last October. ...
Since then, I've had only two colds, each three days long. Vitamin D made a huge difference in my immune system.
A. Research shows vitamin D is extremely important for the immune system. It helps to regulate T cells, which are important immune actors. It also turns on the gene that produces cathelicidin, a natural antimicrobial compound that fights infection (Future Microbiology, November 2009).
Since many Americans don't get enough vitamin D because we stay out of the sun, recommendations for supplementary vitamin D may rise beyond the current RDA of 400 IU daily. Many experts believe vitamin D intake should be five to 10 times higher than that. ... http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/health/2010642258_pharmacy03.html
Limitations of this study include potential publication bias and larger-than-expected variation between trials. "Doses of 700 IU to 1000 IU supplemental vitamin D a day could reduce falls by 19% or by up to 26% with vitamin D3," the study authors conclude. "This benefit may not depend on additional calcium supplementation, was significant within 2-5 months of treatment, and extended beyond 12 months of treatment....Active forms of vitamin D do not appear to be more effective than 700-1000 IU of supplemental vitamin D for fall prevention in older persons." ...
ScienceDaily.com Researchers at Rice and Baylor Found Weakness in Mutating H1N1 Flu Virus 300 Mutant H1N1 viruses examined
The researchers were looking in particular at hemagglutinin (HA), the protein "hook" that allows the virus to attach itself to and infect host cells. It's long been known that five regions of H1N1's HA serve as antigenic sites, the protein fragments that trigger the body's immune system. These antigenic sites, first mapped in 1981, shuffle their amino-acid sequences in the endless cat-and-mouse game that viruses play to survive. ...
For a virus to evade antibodies, all five antigenic sites would have to disguise themselves by mutating. The new finding led the researchers to believe the receptor-binding residues would also have to mutate, but not so much that the binding no longer works. "If the binding is abolished, the virus dies," said Ma, a Rice professor in bioengineering with a joint appointment at BCM.
Such dual-function residues are a likely bottleneck for the virus, he said, because they're under the tightest restrictions. Thus, they could be easier to track over time and may chart a path to predict future mutations that will aid in vaccine design. ... http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091210111201.htm
Approved Fast Method for Preparing Flu Vaccine: Use Bioreactors Instead of Chicken Eggs
ScienceDaily http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091209193506.htm (Dec. 11, 2009) — A shortage of flu vaccines may soon become a problem of the past. Researcher Manon Cox has developed an alternative process for producing large quantities of safe and effective vaccines at twice to four times the usual speed. The process is based on using cells in bioreactors instead of fertilised chicken eggs, which have a limited availability. ...
The prompt availability of sufficient suitable vaccine is always a problem when facing the outbreak of a flu epidemic. At the moment, it takes three to six months to produce a vaccine to counter a new strain of flu virus using chicken's eggs. Moreover, there is no possibility of expanding production capacity in the event of a pandemic as the limited availability of fertilised chicken's eggs needed for production inevitably becomes an insurmountable problem.
Cox's new process demonstrates that it is possible to make a vaccine available in commercial quantities within 45 days. The new production method makes use of a baculovirus that multiplies only inside insect cells, and which cannot spread in vertebrates. The insect cells produce huge quantities of so-called HA proteins, which mobilise the immune system into fighting the flu virus.
The aspect that most slows down the production of vaccine according to the conventional method is the need for fertilised chicken eggs. Furthermore, this creates extra problems if the flu virus is also capable of infecting birds (as was the case in the Netherlands in 2003), as the egg production often grinds to a halt. In addition, the vaccines produced are not suitable for people with an egg allergy. The new production process using insect cells can be used on a large scale, at all times and simultaneously at various locations throughout the world. The process can easily be adapted to new influenza strains and enhance pandemic preparedness.
Meanwhile, the new production process has already been put through clinical trials involving three different strains of flu virus in 460 healthy people. None of the test subjects injected with the vaccine developed symptoms of flu, while 4.6% of those taking part in the control group contracted the disease naturally. Three follow-on studies involving approximately 3,000 people showed no striking or frequent side-effects. The vaccine also appears to protect people from influenza viruses that have undergone genetic changes and in more than 50% of cases, it results in better antibody production than the flu vaccines currently available.
Just what damages DNA in skin cells and how this leads to melanoma is a matter of intense study. Cancer is a complex disease that often results from a combination of factors, including environmental and genetic factors, rather than from a single cause. Still, excessive exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation is a leading factor in the development of melanoma, whether the radiation is from the sun or from tanning lamps and beds. ...
UV radiation is produced by the sun. UV light is divided into three wavelength bands — ultraviolet A (UVA), ultraviolet B (UVB) and ultraviolet C (UVC). Only UVA and UVB rays reach the earth — UVC radiation is completely absorbed by atmospheric ozone, a naturally occurring substance that filters UV radiation. Commercial tanning lamps and tanning beds also produce UV radiation.
UVB light causes harmful changes in skin cell DNA, including the activation of oncogenes — a type of gene that, when turned on, can change a normal cell into a cancerous one. But UVA light may be more likely to damage melanocytes, leading to melanoma. Tanning lamps and beds mainly produce UVA radiation. UV radiation is most intense at the equator and at high elevations, but no matter where you live, your skin absorbs UV radiation whenever you're outdoors unless you wear protective clothing and sunscreen.
Other causes of melanoma
UV light doesn't cause all melanomas, especially those that occur in places on your body that don't receive exposure to sunlight. This indicates that other factors may contribute to your risk of melanoma. ... http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/melanoma/DS00439/DSECTION=causes
Making Stronger Dose Seasonal Flu Vaccines for Weak Immunity Seniors Shows Common Sense Finally Reigns! Reuters Dec 23, 2009 The vaccine uses a higher dose to produce a stronger immune response and better protect the elderly against seasonal flu, the Food and Drug Administration said.
The vaccine will be available for immunizing people in the fall of 2010 ahead of the next flu season, said Sanofi Pasteur, the company's vaccine unit.
The FDA said "non-serious" events such as redness and injection-site swelling were more frequent with the high dose vaccine. The rate of serious problems was comparable with Sanofi's regular-dose Fluzone.
The new vaccine was approved based on studies showing a stronger immune response compared with the original Fluzone. The company must conduct further studies to verify the high dose version decreases seasonal flu after vaccination, the FDA added. (Reporting by Lisa Richwine; editing by Andre Grenon) http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSN2316757020091223