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Ebola Treatment Using Plasma From Survivors Is Not Effective, Study Says

THE NEW YORK TIMES   By Sheri Fink, MD             January 7, 2007

A treatment once considered among the most promising for Ebola patients was not found to be effective in a study performed in Guinea, researchers reported Wednesday in The New England Journal of Medicine.

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Cancer is not just 'bad luck' but down to environment, study suggests

bbc.com - December 17th, 2015 - James Gallagher

Cancer is overwhelmingly a result of environmental factors and not largely down to bad luck, a study suggests.

Earlier this year, researchers sparked a debate after suggesting two-thirds of cancer types were down to luck rather than factors such as smoking.

The new study, in the journal Nature, used four approaches to conclude only 10-30% of cancers were down to the way the body naturally functions or "luck".

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Chikungunya, A Mosquito-Borne Virus, Might Be Scarier Than We Thought

Don't bite me: The female of a mosquito called Aedes aegypti can transmit yellow fever, dengue fever and chikungunya. David Scharf/Science Source

Image: Don't bite me: The female of a mosquito called Aedes aegypti can transmit yellow fever, dengue fever and chikungunya. David Scharf/Science Source

npr.org - 1 December 2015 - Rae Ellen Bichell

A mosquito-borne virus that has made its way to the U.S. may be causing more serious symptoms than first thought.

Chikungunya starts with fevers and aches, like malaria and other mosquito-borne diseases. What distinguishes the virus is that it also brings debilitating joint pain. The pain usually dwindles over the course of a few weeks, though it can leave some people with chronic arthritis.

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The ‘Gene Drive’ That Builds a Malaria-Proof Mosquito

Anopheles stephensi Mosquito (female). David Scharf/Corbis

Image: Anopheles stephensi Mosquito (female). David Scharf/Corbis

wired.com - November 24th, 2015 - Sarah Zhang

On Monday, scientists announced they could cheat the laws of evolution: They had devised a way to force a gene that kills malaria parasites to spread through a whole population of mosquitoes that normally carry the parasite—at least in a lab. No malaria in mosquitoes means, hypothetically, no malaria in people, either. All this is possible thanks to a controversial new technology known as a gene drive.

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Antibiotic resistance: World on cusp of 'post-antibiotic era'

The resistance was discovered in pigs, which are routinely given the drugs in China. Getty Images.

Image: The resistance was discovered in pigs, which are routinely given the drugs in China. Getty Images.

bbc.com - November 19th, 2015 - James Gallagher

The world is on the cusp of a "post-antibiotic era", scientists have warned after finding bacteria resistant to drugs used when all other treatments have failed.

They identified bacteria able to shrug off the drug of last resort - colistin - in patients and livestock in China.

They said that resistance would spread around the world and raised the spectre of untreatable infections.

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Scientists breach brain barrier to treat sick patient

The blood-brain barrier protects the brain against toxins.

Image: The blood-brain barrier protects the brain against toxins.

bbc.com - November 10th, 2015

For the first time, doctors have breached the human brain's protective layer to deliver cancer-fighting drugs.

The Canadian team used tiny gas-filled bubbles, injected into the bloodstream of a patient, to punch temporary holes in the blood-brain barrier.

A beam of focused ultrasound waves applied to the skull made the bubbles vibrate and push their way through, along with chemotherapy drugs.

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Ebolavirus Evolution: Past and Present

PLOS PATHOGENS  by Marc-Antoine de La Vega,  Derek Stein, and GaryKopinger, University of Manitoba, Canada , Nov. 12, 2015    

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada The past year has marked the most devastating Ebola outbreak the world has ever witnessed, with over 28,000 cases and over 11,000 deaths. Ebola virus (EBOV) has now been around for almost 50 years. In this review, we discuss past and present outbreaks of EBOV and how those variants evolved over time. We explore and discuss selective pressures that drive the evolution of different Ebola variants, and how they may modify the efficacy of therapeutic treatments and vaccines currently being developed. Finally, given the unprecedented size and spread of the outbreak, as well as the extended period of replication in human hosts, specific attention is given to the 2014–2015 West African outbreak variant (Makona).

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http://journals.plos.org/plospathogens/article?id=10.1371/journal.ppat.1005221

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Antarctica Might Be Gaining Ice, But Global Warming Ain’t Over

Antarctica Getty Images

Image: Antarctica Getty Images

wired.com - November 3rd, 2015 - Nick Stockton

Perhaps you’ve heard about the death of climate change. “Antarctica is actually gaining ice,” says NASA. “Is global warming over?” asks one headline writer. Not quite, goes the inevitable hedge.

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Each 1-Day Delay in Hospitalization Ups Risk of Ebola Death

US NEWS AND WORLD REPORT HEALTHDAY NEWS by Robert Preidt,  Nov. 6, 2015

Ebola patients are more likely to survive if they are hospitalized soon after being infected, a new study finds.

Researchers analyzed data from nearly 1,000 cases of Ebola virus that occurred in the Democratic Republic of Congo over 38 years. They found that each day of delay in hospital admission was associated with an 11 percent higher risk of death during epidemics.

Delays in hospitalization were caused by factors such as geography, infrastructure and cultural influences, the researchers said.

The Democratic Republic of Congo has had more Ebola outbreaks than any other country since the deadly virus was discovered in 1976, they noted.

The researchers also found that rapidly progressing Ebola outbreaks are swiftly brought under control, while national and international responses to slower-progressing outbreaks tend to be less intense. As a result, those outbreaks last longer, the study authors said.

The study was published Nov. 3 in the journal eLife.

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http://health.usnews.com/health-news/articles/2015/11/06/each-1-day-delay-in-hospitalization-ups-risk-of-ebola-death

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TB Is Now The Top Infectious Killer (Even Though Deaths Are Down)

A nurse organizes the files of deceased patients at a TB hospital in Togliatti, Russia. Multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis is a huge problem in the former Soviet Union. Misha Friedman

Image: A nurse organizes the files of deceased patients at a TB hospital in Togliatti, Russia. Multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis is a huge problem in the former Soviet Union. Misha Friedman

npr.org - October 28th 2015 - Jason Beaubien

Tuberculosis is now killing more people each year than HIV, according to new data from the World Health Organization.

WHO estimates there were almost 10 million new cases of TB last year; the disease caused 1.5 million deaths. By comparison, 1.2 million lives were claimed by HIV.

That makes TB the No. 1 infectious killer.

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