Richard Harris http://kplu.org en Smallpox Virus Found In Unsecured NIH Lab http://kplu.org/post/smallpox-virus-found-unsecured-nih-freezer Scientists cleaning out an old laboratory on the National Institutes of Health campus in Bethesda, Md., last week came across a startling discovery: vials labeled "variola" — in other words, smallpox.<p>Under international convention, there are supposed to be only two stashes of this deadly virus: one at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and another at a similar facility in Russia.<p>The CDC swooped in to collect the vials and carted them off to a secure lab at its Atlanta headquarters.<p>In a statement Tuesday, the agency said scientists did indeed find smallp Tue, 08 Jul 2014 17:32:04 +0000 Richard Harris 17615 at http://kplu.org Smallpox Virus Found In Unsecured NIH Lab Quick DNA Tests Crack Medical Mysteries Otherwise Missed http://kplu.org/post/quick-dna-tests-crack-medical-mysteries-otherwise-missed Researchers are developing a radical way to diagnose infectious diseases. Thu, 05 Jun 2014 21:41:13 +0000 Richard Harris 16996 at http://kplu.org Quick DNA Tests Crack Medical Mysteries Otherwise Missed Measles Hits Amish Communities, And U.S. Cases Reach 20-Year High http://kplu.org/post/measles-hits-amish-communities-and-us-cases-reach-20-year-high Members of Amish communities in Ohio traveled to the Philippines for heartfelt reasons: They were there on service projects to help less fortunate people. Unfortunately, they came home with unwelcome hitchhikers: measles viruses.<p>Those travelers hadn't been vaccinated against this highly contagious disease, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday. Thu, 29 May 2014 20:39:07 +0000 Richard Harris 16871 at http://kplu.org Measles Hits Amish Communities, And U.S. Cases Reach 20-Year High Experimental Malaria Vaccine Blocks The Bad Guy's Exit http://kplu.org/post/experimental-malaria-vaccine-blocks-bad-guys-exit <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IrNL27eWKOI</p> Thu, 22 May 2014 18:06:35 +0000 Richard Harris 16777 at http://kplu.org Experimental Malaria Vaccine Blocks The Bad Guy's Exit Medicine Needs More Research On Female Animals, NIH Says http://kplu.org/post/medicine-needs-more-research-female-animals-nih-says Many potential new drugs look like they could be big winners — at least when judged by how well they work in mice or other lab animals. Over the years, there have been a number of promising cancer "cures," possible Alzheimer's treatments, and candidate drugs for holding back the ravages of various degenerative diseases.<p>But, time after time, these great promises fade away once the potential treatments are tried in people. There are lots of reasons for that. Thu, 15 May 2014 18:32:35 +0000 Richard Harris 16598 at http://kplu.org Medicine Needs More Research On Female Animals, NIH Says Family Tree Of Pertussis Traced, Could Lead To Better Vaccine http://kplu.org/post/family-tree-pertussis-traced-could-lead-better-vaccine Whooping cough was once one of the leading killers of babies around the world. Now that it's largely controlled with a vaccine, scientists have had a chance to figure out how the disease came into being in the first place.<p>That story is told in a <a href="http://mbio.asm.org/content/5/2/e01074-14.full?sid=b438c0ee-50da-448f-8c94-4f7d08dd7700">study</a> published online this week in the journal <em>mBio</em>. Fri, 25 Apr 2014 20:59:46 +0000 Richard Harris 16281 at http://kplu.org Family Tree Of Pertussis Traced, Could Lead To Better Vaccine First Embryonic Stem Cells Cloned From A Man's Skin http://kplu.org/post/first-embryonic-stem-cells-cloned-mans-skin Eighteen years ago, scientists in Scotland took the nuclear DNA from the cell of an adult sheep and put it into another sheep's egg cell that had been emptied of its own nucleus. The resulting egg was implanted in the womb of a third sheep, and the result was Dolly, the first clone of a mammal.<p>Dolly's birth set off a huge outpouring of ethical concern — along with hope that the same techniques, applied to human cells, could be used to treat myriad diseases.<p>But Dolly's birth also triggered years of frustration. Thu, 17 Apr 2014 18:58:00 +0000 Richard Harris 16108 at http://kplu.org First Embryonic Stem Cells Cloned From A Man's Skin Ebola Drug Could Be Ready For Human Testing Next Year http://kplu.org/post/ebola-drug-could-be-ready-human-testing-next-year The <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2014/04/08/300509073/the-ebola-outbreak-three-weeks-in-dire-but-not-hopeless">Ebola outbreak</a> in West Africa is terrifying because there's no drug to treat this often fatal disease. But the disease is so rare, there's no incentive for big pharmaceutical companies to develop a treatment.<p>Even so, some small companies, given government incentives, are stepping into that breach. The result: More than half a dozen ideas are being pursued actively.<p>And these are boon days for drugs that can treat viruses. Fri, 11 Apr 2014 21:51:11 +0000 Richard Harris 15957 at http://kplu.org Ebola Drug Could Be Ready For Human Testing Next Year How Mouse Studies Lead Medical Research Down Dead Ends http://kplu.org/post/how-mouse-studies-lead-medical-research-down-dead-ends Most experimental drugs fail before they make it through all the tests required to figure out if they actually work and if they're safe. But some drugs get fairly far down that road, at the cost of hundreds of millions of dollars, based on poorly conducted studies at the outset.<p>Medical researchers reviewing this sorry state of affairs say the drug-development process needs serious improvement.<p>Consider drugs that are being developed to treat <a href="http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/amyotrophiclateralsclerosis.html">ALS</a>, or Lou Gehrig's disease. Tue, 08 Apr 2014 16:24:43 +0000 Richard Harris 15792 at http://kplu.org How Mouse Studies Lead Medical Research Down Dead Ends Simple Blood Test To Spot Early Lung Cancer Getting Closer http://kplu.org/post/simple-blood-test-spot-early-lung-cancer-getting-closer One of these days, there could well be a simple blood test that can help diagnose and track cancers. We aren't there yet, but a burst of research in this area shows we are getting a lot closer.<p>In the latest of these studies, scientists have used blood samples to identify people with lung cancer.<p>At the Stanford School of Medicine, <a href="http://stemcell.stanford.edu/about/Laboratories/diehn/index.html">Dr. Maximilian Diehn</a> spends some of his time as a radiation oncologist treating patients with cancer, and some of his time delving into the world of DNA. Sun, 06 Apr 2014 19:49:08 +0000 Richard Harris 15722 at http://kplu.org Simple Blood Test To Spot Early Lung Cancer Getting Closer Custom Chromo: First Yeast Chromosome Built From Scratch http://kplu.org/post/custom-chromo-first-yeast-chromosome-built-scratch Using the labor of dozens of undergraduate students, scientists have built a customized yeast chromosome from scratch.<p>It's a milestone in the rapidly growing field of synthetic biology, where organisms can be tailored for industrial use. In this case, the near-term goal is to understand the genetics of yeast, and eventually the genetics of us.<p>This was quite an undertaking. Yeast have about 6,000 genes packed in 16 tidy bundles called chromosomes. Thu, 27 Mar 2014 20:22:52 +0000 Richard Harris 15394 at http://kplu.org Custom Chromo: First Yeast Chromosome Built From Scratch Fewer People Are Getting Infections In Hospitals, But Many Still Die http://kplu.org/post/fewer-people-are-getting-infections-hospitals-many-still-die Hospital-acquired infections continue to be a big problem in health care, with 4 percent of patients getting a new infection while hospitalized, a study finds. And 11 percent of those infections turn deadly.<p>It's the first time that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has attempted to catalog all hospital infections, not just the infections with germs on their watch list. Wed, 26 Mar 2014 18:14:59 +0000 Richard Harris 15332 at http://kplu.org Fewer People Are Getting Infections In Hospitals, But Many Still Die Never Mind Eyesight, Your Nose Knows Much More http://kplu.org/post/never-mind-eyesight-your-nose-knows-much-more The human eye can distinguish more than 2 million distinct colors. But scientists studying smell now say they have their vision colleagues beat: The human nose, they say, can distinguish more than a trillion different smells.<p>Yes, trillion with a T.<p>That new figure displaces a much more modest estimate. Thu, 20 Mar 2014 21:40:24 +0000 Richard Harris 15104 at http://kplu.org Never Mind Eyesight, Your Nose Knows Much More Flu Drugs Saved Lives During 2009 Pandemic http://kplu.org/post/anti-flu-drugs-saved-lives-during-2009-pandemic Drugs used to treat the flu really did save the lives of seriously ill people during the influenza pandemic of 2009-2010, <a href="http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanres/article/PIIS2213-2600%2814%2970041-4/abstract">a study</a><strong> </strong>in <em>The</em> <em>Lancet Respiratory Medicine</em> suggests.<p>Adults who promptly received doses of <a href="http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety/PostmarketDrugSafetyInformationforPatientsandProviders/ucm107838.htm">Tamiflu</a>, <a href="http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety/PostmarketDrugSafetyInformationforPatientsandProviders/ucm188870.htm">Relenz Wed, 19 Mar 2014 00:03:31 +0000 Richard Harris 15013 at http://kplu.org Flu Drugs Saved Lives During 2009 Pandemic Google's Flu Tracker Suffers From Sniffles http://kplu.org/post/googles-flu-tracker-suffers-sniffles If you want to know what's up with the flu at the moment, you have a few choices: You can get the latest information at <a href="https://www.google.org/flutrends/us/#US">Google Flu Trends</a>. Thu, 13 Mar 2014 20:27:42 +0000 Richard Harris 14812 at http://kplu.org Google's Flu Tracker Suffers From Sniffles