Merck tells AIDS vaccine volunteers who got jab
November 13, 2007 07:43 PM - Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Thousands of people who volunteered to test an experimental AIDS vaccine that may have actually raised the risk of infection will be told if they got the actual shot, researchers said on Tuesday.

Merck & Co. Inc. and academic researchers said they would "unblind" the study, meaning everyone would find out who got the active shot and who got a dummy injection.

Two international trials of the experimental vaccine were stopped in September after it became clear the vaccine did not prevent infection with the AIDS virus.

A low-carb diet may stunt prostate tumor growth
November 13, 2007 08:08 AM - Duke University Medical Center

A diet low in carbohydrates may help stunt the growth of prostate tumors, according to a new study led by Duke Prostate Center researchers. The study, in mice, suggests that a reduction in insulin production possibly caused by fewer carbohydrates may stall tumor growth.

New Standard For Sustainable Carpets
November 12, 2007 07:05 PM - Glenn Hasek, Green Lodging News

CHICAGO—Architects, designers and end users will now have one Standard to identify carpets that have a reduced environmental impact. The first multi-attribute American National Standards Institute (ANSI)-approved Standard—NSF 140-2007, Sustainable Carpet Assessment Standard for environmentally preferable building materials—was introduced at Greenbuild 2007.

The unified Standard for sustainable carpet is voluntary, inclusive, based on life cycle assessment (LCA) principles, and offers three levels of achievement for attaining various levels of reduced environmental impact (silver, gold and platinum). By defining environmental, social and economic performance requirements, the Standard provides benchmarks for continual improvement and innovation within the building industry.

Waste Water Plus Bacteria Make Hydrogen Fuel: Study
November 12, 2007 06:20 PM - By Deborah Zabarenko, Environment Correspondent, Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Bacteria that feed on vinegar and waste water zapped with a shot of electricity could produce a clean hydrogen fuel to power vehicles that now run on petroleum, researchers reported on Monday.

These so-called microbial fuel cells can turn almost any biodegradable organic material into zero-emission hydrogen gas fuel, said Bruce Logan of Penn State University.

This would be an environmental advantage over the current generation of hydrogen-powered cars, where the hydrogen is most commonly made from fossil fuels. Even though the cars themselves emit no climate-warming greenhouse gases, the manufacture of their fuel does.

New technique to treat varicose veins
November 12, 2007 12:43 PM - Rachel Champeau

Los Angeles - Dr. Peter Lawrence, UCLA's chief of vascular surgery, picks up size 7 crochet hooks from a fabric store — not to make sweaters or scarves but to use in a new technique he has developed to treat varicose veins.  

Early results of the new outpatient procedure, called light-assisted stab phlebectomy, or LASP, appear in a study in the October issue of the journal The American Surgeon.   More than 250 patients at UCLA have undergone Lawrence's procedure, which is designed to remove branch varicose veins from the thighs, calves and ankles.


Drug injecting triggers most Mauritius HIV cases
November 12, 2007 12:35 PM -

ROCHE BOIS, Mauritius (Reuters) - Drug abuse accounts for 92 percent of new HIV infections in Mauritius, up from just 14 percent in 2002, the government said on Monday.

The Indian Ocean island nation has an estimated HIV prevalence rate of 1.8 percent, which is low for the region. On the African mainland, HIV infection rates stand at 16.1 percent in Mozambique and 18.8 percent in South Africa, for example.

But officials say risky practices like sharing needles used for injecting drugs are causing many more infections. Mauritius suffers the second highest rate of heroin and opiate use in the world, according to U.N. figures.

St. Jude defibrillator wires under scrutiny: report
November 12, 2007 08:14 AM - Reuters

Reports are emerging that some defibrillator wires made by St. Jude Medical Inc are in rare instances puncturing holes in the hearts of cardiac patients, the Wall Street Journal reported Monday in its online edition.

The devices in question -- the Riata line of defibrillator leads from St. Jude -- are wires that connect to patients' hearts, according to the Journal.

Study charts genomic landscape of lung cancer
November 11, 2007 10:39 PM - Nicole Davis, The Broad Institute

An international team of scientists has produced the most comprehensive view yet of the abnormal genetic landscape of lung cancer, the world's leading cause of cancer deaths. Appearing in the Nov. 4 advance online issue of Nature, the research reveals more than 50 genomic regions that are frequently gained or lost in human lung tumors.

While one-third of these regions contain genes already known to play important roles in lung cancer, the majority harbor new genes yet to be discovered. Flowing from this work, the scientists uncovered a critical gene alteration--not previously linked to any form of cancer--that is implicated in a significant fraction of lung cancer cases, shedding light on the biological basis of the disease and a potential new target for therapy.





HIV Vaccine Target Could Solve Mutation Problem
November 11, 2007 10:17 PM - UC Newswire

Researchers at UCSF and the University of Toronto have identified a potential new way of fighting against HIV infection that relies on the remnants of ancient viruses, human endogenous retroviruses (HERV), which have become part of the genome of every human cell.


Mounting evidence suggests that HIV infection could enable HERV expression by disrupting the normal controls that keep HERV in check. In some HIV-infected individuals, infection fighting T-cells are able to target HERV expressing cells.

Researchers believe that their findings, published in the Nov. 9, 2007 issue of the journal PLoS Pathogens, could lead to a vaccine targeting HERV that kills HIV-infected cells.





World faces choice on human cloning: U.N. study
November 11, 2007 10:09 PM - Reuters

OSLO (Reuters) - The world faces a stark choice between banning cloning of humans or preparing ways to protect them from potential abuse or discrimination, a U.N. study said on Sunday.

Experts at the U.N. University's Institute of Advanced Studies said it would only be a matter of time before scientists manage to clone a human if governments do not impose a ban.

"Whichever path the international community chooses it will have to act soon -- either to prevent reproductive cloning or to defend the human rights of cloned individuals," said A.H. Zakri, head of the Institute, which is based in Yokohama, Japan.

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