Archive by date | September 2011

Urine for a treat: Research into full bladders wins spoof medicine prize

Urine for a treat: Research into full bladders wins spoof medicine prize

The old adage goes that if you have a hard decision to make, you should just “sleep on it”. But perhaps a better strategy might be to drink half a dozen cups of water and wait for the pressure to build on your bladder. Then you might be able to make the best decision, according to research that was recognized with this year’s Ig Nobel Prize in Medicine, an award given out last night by the Annals of Improbable Research as a whimsical counterpart to the true Nobel Prize (which will be announced on Monday). In a study published in  … Read more

New mouse model for autism could open door to new drug testing

New mouse model for autism could open door to new drug testing

A new mouse model of autism created by scientists at the University of California-Los Angeles promises to mimic the disease more closely than previous animal models, according to a paper out today in the journal Cell. The mice possess the same mutation in the gene contactin associated protein-like 2 (CNTNAP2) seen in a small subset of people with autism. When individuals have two non-functioning versions of the gene, as found in two Amish families, they suffer a suite of symptoms such as epileptic seizures, language regression, hyperactivity and autism. The mice created by the UCLA team exhibit all of these  … Read more

With billions in funding, GAVI broadens childhood immunization programs

With billions in funding, GAVI broadens childhood immunization programs

Just three months after the GAVI Alliance secured $4.3 billion in promised support from donors at its first pledging conference, the Geneva-based organization has considerably expanded its campaign against some of leading killers of children worldwide. Today, GAVI announced funding for 37 developing nations, mostly in sub-Saharan Africa, to receive discounted vaccines targeted against rotavirus, pneumococcal disease and other deadly infections.  Read more

World’s most expensive drug receives second approval for deadly blood disease

World’s most expensive drug receives second approval for deadly blood disease

It’s impossible to put a price on a child’s life. But if your child suffers from a rare blood disorder called atypical hemolytic-uremic syndrome, you can expect to shell out more than $400,000 per year because that’s the price of the antibody drug that just received regulatory approval in the US to treat the clotting disease.  Read more

Experts diverge on stock price flux ahead of cancer trial results

Experts diverge on stock price flux ahead of cancer trial results

Posted on behalf of Madhumita Venkataramanan The stock prices of companies that report positive results for cancer drug trials tended to increase before the first public announcement of the findings, according to a study published today in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. But experts are split as to whether the trend points to illegal ‘insider trading’ by people who know the results of these trials in advance — including physicians and scientists — or simply reflect a bias in the analysis. In the study, a team led by pharmacoeconomist Allan Detsky of Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto identified  … Read more

Side-effects of antipsychotics need continued monitoring, says FDA committee

Hormones aren’t the only excuse for teenage moodiness anymore: psychiatrists are increasingly diagnosing adolescents with bipolar disorder, with 65% more prescriptions and 35% more patients between 2002 and 2009, according to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Many people are wringing their hands over whether children are being misdiagnosed and, perhaps, unnecessarily medicated. But there’s another problem with the diagnosis spike: potential side effects from the antipsychotics doctors prescribe to treat the disorder.  Read more

CDC urges more viral testing for donated organs

CDC urges more viral testing for donated organs

In 1985, with the AIDS crisis in full swing, the US Centers for Disease Control (as the agency was called at the time) recommended that all blood and organs donated in the country be tested for HIV. But because the virus can lurk in cells for up to six months before detection, in 1994 the CDC (now with ‘Prevention’ tacked on to its name) added additional guidelines to help clinicians identify those organ donors at high-risk for infection that merit further screening.  Read more

First embryonic stem cell trial approved outside the US

An embryonic field seems to be developing rapidly. Just two months after Advanced Cell Technology (ACT) launched the second and third trials involving human embryonic stem cell (ESC) derived products in an operating room at the University of California–Los Angeles, the Santa Monica-based biotech announced today that it had gained approval from the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency to conduct the first ESC cell trial outside the US.  Read more

Global disease fund must “change or wither”, says panel

Crossposted from Nature’s news blog In a hard-hitting 152-page report released today, a high-level panel charged with reviewing the financial management of the multibillion dollar Global Fund to fight against Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria, has called for profound reform of the fund. The panel, co-chaired by Festus Mogae, former president of Botswana, and Michael Leavitt, a former US Health Secretary, was commissioned by the Global Fund in March amid concern over recent prominent cases of corruption and fraudulent diversion of its grants in recipient countries (see Nature Editorial: “”http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v470/n7332/full/470006a.html “>Tough on truth” and our blog posts at the time: “”http://blogs.nature.com/news/2011/01/corruption_in_global_disease_f_1.html">Corruption  … Read more