All Articles Tagged "disease"
No one wants to contract an STD but if you had to catch one, gonorrhea, chlamydia, or syphilis would be it because they’re at least treatable. Well, they were.
A new study in the New England Journal of Medicine found that the number of drug-resistant cases of gonorrhea is on the rise in the US to the point that the sexually transmitted disease may become untreatable. According to the authors, “It is time to sound the alarm.” They wrote:
“During the past 3 years, the wily gonococcus has become less susceptible to our last line of antimicrobial defense, threatening our ability to cure gonorrhea and prevent severe sequelae.”
The threat is nothing to laugh at. Gonorrhea is the second most commonly reported communicable disease in the United States, affecting an estimated 600,000 people annually. Complications from the disease include scaring of the uterus, pelvic inflammatory disease, and infertility, plus the disease can be spread to a child during delivery so it’s not something you want to play with. Here’s one more reason to wrap it up.
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.
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By Charlotte Young
In an important genetic scientific study on African Americans, two unrelated research groups have uncovered a very similar method to creating detailed genome maps of African American DNA. This new method, which helps scientists view the reshuffling of genomes, will also enable them to locate the genes that cause disease.
The Los Angeles Times reports that the new maps have been able to “pinpoint thousands of hotspots” where recombination occurs. Recombination is the gene swapping process essential to genetic diversity. It is also linked to disease.
While previous research has focused solely on the DNA of people of European descent, this new research exposes “genetic underpinning” to sickness in all people, especially African Americans.
Harvard Medical School geneticist David Reich and Simon Myers, a statistician from the University of Oxford, took a look at DNA data from 29,589 African Americans with no familial relations. The second team, led by UCLA geneticists, looked at DNA data from 2,864 participants from both African American and African Caribbean populations.
Both teams found a significant difference in the DNA compared to that of Europeans. The first team discovered 2500 “hot spots” in the DNA of people of West African descent that were very rare to European DNA.
Reich acknowledges the uniqueness of African American genetic structures as the genes are a blend of both European and West African DNA over the course of six generations, which is a relatively new blend.
Because the DNA is a relatively new genetic blending, the splices where recombination occurs are larger chunks of genetic information that are easier to compare to reference genomes.
“More and more we’re appreciating the importance of diversity in doing medical studies,” said UCLA geneticist John Novembre, one of the authors of the second study.
Both Reich and Novembre hope to next map the DNA recombination of hot spots in Latinos. This group has a mix of European, Native American and African ancestry which spans about nine generations.
The hope for these minority groups now recently of interest to scientist is that these scientists will not stop their interest at studying the genes that cause disease in DNA of African Americans, Caribbeans and Latinos. In addition to finding them, they will also be able to find methods to alleviate these health concerns in African Americans and other minority groups.
(NPR) — Two independent teams of researchers have come up with the most accurate genetic maps ever made — a feat that should make the search for genes associated with diseases easier. To understand why an accurate genetic map is useful, imagine you are trying to locate a house in Topeka, Kan., but the only map you have is one of the Interstate Highway System. You could probably find Topeka, but finding the specific house you want would take a lot of trial and error. That’s basically the situation researchers find themselves when they are search for a particular gene in the long stretches of DNA that make up our chromosomes. The trick to making a genetic map is to make road signs in DNA to tell you where you are.
(Wall Street Journal) — Using a cellphone may increase the risk of a certain type of brain cancer, an international panel of experts said Tuesday, adding to a growing debate about whether a now nearly ubiquitous form of communication poses health risks. The experts said cellphone radio waves are “possibly carcinogenic,” classifying them in the same risk category as lead, chloroform and coffee. The classification from the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer could lead the United Nations health body to look again at its mobile-phone guidelines, the scientists said. The IARC panel did not conduct new research. Its findings, which will be published July 1 in the journal Lancet Oncology and in a few days online, came after reviewing the “available literature” on everything from microwave exposure to the environmental exposures of radio, television and wireless signals.
(Reuters) — Fatalities from the diarrheal disease have risen steadily since the start of the outbreak more than three weeks ago in the poor Caribbean nation, which is struggling to recover from the effects of a devastating January 12 earthquake. Ezra Barzilay, an epidemiologist at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said the emergency in Haiti created by the epidemic was worsening. ”As of November 8, we had about 640 deaths. Today we are at 800,” he said in a call from Haiti to participants at a medical conference in Biloxi, Mississippi.
(New York Times) — In the raggedy Sinai tent camp, a 7-year-old with a distended belly and missing front teeth struggled to dump a bucket filled with watery diarrhea in a putrid outhouse. Two women with brooms and water — but no disinfectant — frantically scrubbed the hole in the ground after the boy, Abdias Hilaire, had finished. Abdias is fine, his mother said, but two other children in their tent are sick, and everybody is terrified of what that portends. Diarrhea, while a common ailment here, is a symptom of cholera. And anxiety has been growing fiercely that the cholera epidemic, which began last week in the northwest of Haiti, will soon strike the earthquake-ravaged Port-au-Prince metropolitan area.