Healthy adults ages 18 to 29 are needed for a research study comparing the safety and effectiveness of two different vaccines for the prevention of the smallpox disease. The study will compare three dose levels of a new vaccine with the current, approved smallpox vaccine that was provided to all U.S. residents during the period of routine smallpox vaccination. The effectiveness of these trial vaccinations will be measured by observing whether or not there is a skin reaction, such as a blister, at the sight of the vaccination. A skin reaction is a typical response to smallpox vaccination. The response also will be measured by examining the size of the skin reaction and the time it takes for the blister to heal. Participants may become immune to smallpox, which would reduce or prevent infection with smallpox.
NASA’s Galileo spacecraft continues to deliver surprises with the discovery that Jupiter’s potato-shaped inner moon, named Amalthea, appears to have a very low density, indicating it is full of holes. “The density is unexpectedly low,” said Dr. John D. Anderson, an astronomer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. “Amalthea is apparently a loosely packed pile of rubble.” The empty gaps between solid chunks likely take up more of the moon’s total volume than the solid pieces, and even the chunks are probably material that is not dense enough to fit some theories about the origin of Jupiter’s moons. “Amalthea now seems more likely to be mostly rock with maybe a little ice, rather than a denser mix of rock and iron,” said JPL’s Dr. Torrence Johnson, project scientist for Galileo.
An anti-epileptic drug may help treat symptoms of a condition that affects as many as 1 in 10 people in developing countries. In a clinical study the drug helped reduce the incidence of seizures in people whose central nervous systems have become infected with the pork tapeworm taenia solium. The condition is associated with seizures, headache, and other neurological symptoms, but of these, seizures are the most common, occurring in nearly 90 percent of all patients.
A drug similar to thalidomide has been found to be promising with fewer side effects for treating patients with recurrent multiple myeloma, an incurable form of bone marrow cancer, according to early data from a clinical study. The drug, an analog of thalidomide, was developed to be more potent than thalidomide, while reducing some of thalidomide’s dose limiting side effects. Laboratory studies have shown that CC-5013 not only kills myeloma cells by triggering their innate self-destruct mechanism but also inhibits the myeloma cells ability to localize and grow in the bone marrow. Moreover, it appears to have anti-angiogenic effects and stimulates the immune system to attack myeloma.
French researchers say they have for the first time demonstrated the use of a teleoperated robotic arm for echographic diagnosis in a remote situation. The objective of the project was to demonstrate how teleoperated echographic diagnosis can be carried out on patients at remote locations. A radiologist at St Anne’s Hospital in Toulon used the teleoperated robotic arm to diagnose a test patient on board the ship stationed at sea. With the robotic arm, videoconferencing equipment and satellite communications, the radiologist was able to assess the severity of medical problems from the remote site. This has important implications for spaceflight and research as it means that astronauts on board the international space station can receive diagnostic attention without returning to Earth.
A new implantable device has been found to reduce the risk of death from congestive heart failure by 40 percent, triggering the early halt of a national trial of the device. “This trial was the largest one in history to test an implanted pacemaker or defibrillator, and it represents a landmark study for the treatment of congestive heart failure,” says Mitchell N. Faddis, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of medicine at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. “I think this is one of the most important therapies developed in the last decade for treatment of severe heart disease.”
Brain regions involved in movement and feeling appear to remain relatively healthy and active even years after the body has been paralyzed, according to research at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. A team of investigators found that five years after complete paralysis from a severe spinal cord injury, areas of the brain normally responsible for some movements and feelings have maintained those capabilities in one quadriplegic. That patient is actor Christopher Reeve.
U.S. government investigators say they need more help from the public and news media in their massive investigation of the September 11 destruction of the World Trade Center towers in New York. Specifically, officials at the U.S. Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology want more photographs and videotape that could yield insights into what happened to the collapsed WTC buildings, occupants and first responders.
Salty water driven by hot magma from Mars’ deep interior may be forming some of the mysterious dark slope streaks visible near the Red Planet’s equator, according to researchers in Arizona. They have determined the dark slope streaks generally occur in areas of long-lived hydrothermal activity, magma-ground-ice interactions, and volcanic activity. Some of the dark slope streaks are brand new?they have formed after the Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft began detailed mapping of the planet in April 1999. Others have been observed to fade away on decadal time scales. Their findings support the hypothesis that Mars remains hydrologically active and that water could be shaping the planet’s landscape today.
A team led by University of Massachusetts Amherst researcher Deborah J. Good has identified a gene that appears to play a role in obesity, physical activity, and sex behaviors in mice. Good works with so-called “knock-out” mice, which have a specific gene deleted. Scientists then monitor the animals for changes in their physiology and behavior, in an effort to determine the gene’s role. Her findings are detailed in the current issue of the journal Physiology and Behavior. The project is funded with a four-year, $1 million grant from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, and a two-year, $70,000 grant from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, both of the National Institutes of Health.
While type 1 Neurofibromatosis (NF1) is primarily known to cause tumors of the nervous system, scientists were puzzled as to why patients with NF1 are also prone to cardiovascular problems such as hypertension and congenital heart disease. Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine have solved this particular part of the puzzle by showing how the Nf1 gene – which is mutated in those suffering from Neurofibromatosis – is also essential in endothelial cells, the cells that make up blood vessels.
Law enforcement officers fighting Internet fraud feel ill prepared to wage an all-out battle on the ever-increasing serious crime, according to a new university study. Lack of resources and jurisdictional issues were cited as major problems in a nationwide survey of some 2,300 law enforcement agencies. “Those involved in investigating and prosecuting Internet fraud feel they lack the staff, tools and training to do their jobs effectively,” said Ronald Burns, assistant professor of criminal justice at Texas Christian University and study director. “Many respondents felt that their departments, given a choice, put more resources into fighting street crime.