Vidyya Medical News Service
Volume 5 Issue 360 Published - 14:00 UTC 08:00 EST 26-Dec-2003 Next Update - 14:00 UTC 08:00 EST 27-Dec-2003
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'Mad cow' mechanism may be integral to storing memory
Scientists have discovered a new process for how memories might be stored, a finding that could help explain one of the least-understood activities of the brain. What's more, the key player in this process is a protein that acts just like a prion – a class of proteins that includes the deadly agents involved in neurodegenerative conditions such as mad cow disease.  more

Understanding of why brain cells die after stroke will lead to development of new treatments
Scientists at Toronto Western Hospital and the University of Toronto have found a major mechanism that causes brain cells to die from stroke. They discovered that when brain cells are deprived of oxygen and vital nutrients, as happens to parts of the brain affected by a stroke, a special channel on the surface of those brain cells is activated, triggering a lethal chain reaction. The channel, called TRPM7, when activated causes brain cells to produce large quantities of free radicals – toxic molecules that break down the cell's DNA, proteins, and other components. Free radicals also cause TRPM7 to become even more active, causing massive overproduction of free radicals, resulting in death of the brain cell.  more


FDA investigating reports of unlicensed influenza vaccine
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has received reports of potential distribution of unlicensed influenza vaccine in the United States. The Agency is aggressively working with State health authorities and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to investigate the source and quality of influenza vaccine being made available through unusual suppliers.  more

NICHD alerts parents to winter SIDS risk
The cold winter months bring an increase in the number of infants who die from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDS, according to the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, one of the National Institutes of Health. During colder months, parents often place extra blankets or night clothes on infants, hoping to provide them with extra warmth. In fact, the extra material may actually increase infants’ risk for SIDS.  more

Teen drug abuse declines across wide front
HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson and John P. Walters, Director of National Drug Control Policy, today released results of the 2003 Monitoring the Future survey, showing an 11 percent decline in drug use by 8th, 10th, and 12th grade students over the past two years. The finding translates into 400,000 fewer teen drug users over two years.  more

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