Problem of emerging infectious diseases likely to worsen
Emerging infectious diseases pose a global threat to human and animal health, and the problem is likely to worsen, warns an expert in this week's BMJ.
Are pets good for you?
Owning a pet is linked to health and wellbeing, particularly for older people and patients recovering from major illness, say researchers in this week's BMJ. About half of households in the United Kingdom own pets and over 90% of pet owners regard their pet as a valued family member. more
U.S. swine workers at increased risk of infection with swine influenza virus
With national attention focused on the avian flu threat, other infections that could be transmitted from animals to people are also coming under scrutiny. People with work exposure to pigs, such as farmers, veterinarians and meat processing workers, are at heightened risk of contracting swine influenza, according to a study in the Jan. 1 issue of Clinical Infectious Diseases, now available online. more
Research published in the NEJM challenges 30-year-old standard of care for lupus patients
A promising new treatment for lupus challenges the way physicians currently treat patients suffering with lupus kidney disease, according to researchers at the State University of New York (SUNY) Downstate Medical Center. more
Regenerating worms help elucidate stem cell biology
Using a tiny flatworm best known for its extraordinary ability to regenerate lost tissue, researchers have identified a gene that controls the ability of stem cells to differentiate into specialized cells. The gene encodes a protein that is most similar to the protein PIWI, an important regulator of stem cells in organisms ranging from plants to humans. more
New vaccine platform may fight infections with causes from influenza to bioterrorism
The development of effective vaccines for people with compromised immune systems may be feasible after all, according to a team of researchers, who demonstrated their approach could protect against pneumocystis pneumonia in mice lacking the same population of immune cells that HIV destroys in humans. The vaccine platform developed by Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh researchers, working in collaboration with researchers from the University of Pittsburgh and Louisiana State University, suggests that the immune system can be primed to ward off other infections as well, such as those caused by the flu, smallpox or exposure to anthrax, even in patients who have the highest risk for infection. more
Avian flu in perspective
An article by Robert Belshe, M.D., of Saint Louis University School of Medicine in this week’s New England Journal of Medicine reviews recent “spectacular achievements of contemporary molecular biology” that hold great importance as the world prepares for a possible flu pandemic. more