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THE BIOWORLD BIOME: Our Habitat for All Things Science

EPILEPSY: METABOLIC DISORDER?
HONG KONG – Inhibition of lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) blocked the characteristic neuronal excitation seen in epileptic seizures in vitro and prevented such events in a mouse model of epilepsy in a study by Japanese pharmacologists, who also identified a promising new treatment for patients with drug-resistant epilepsy.
BITE ME
Genetically modified foods have the dubious distinction of being the scientific topic with the widest opinion gap between scientists and the lay public. In a report on "Public and Scientists' Views about Science and Society," 88 percent of scientists, but only 37 percent of the general public, believed that genetically modified foods were generally safe to eat.
HONG KONG – Preoperative atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP) improved survival in lung cancer patients undergoing surgery and appeared to prevent cancer metastasis through prevention of vascular endothelial inflammation and adhesion in mice, Japanese researchers reported in the March 16, 2015, early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Populations in Ebola-ravaged West Africa may face the next threat to their health – by a disease that is also making a small-scale, if much-noted, comeback in the U.S.: measles. In a paper published in the March 13, 2015, issue of Science, scientists estimated that vaccination rates for measles have decreased by 75 percent since the beginning of the Ebola epidemic.
HONG KONG – New antibiotic agents are urgently needed to overcome the burgeoning problem of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in infectious bacteria, but novel agents alone may not be sufficient to prevent a return to the dark days of the pre-antimicrobial era, an infectious disease specialist has warned.

HONG KONG – A study led by Singaporean researchers has identified a potent new antibody against the dengue virus, a minimal amount of which is required to neutralize it, which is an important finding that may lead to the development of effective new treatments or vaccines.

"There are people even today who still have trouble thinking about doing investigative studies in children with dread disease," Crystal Mackall told the audience at a recent talk at the NIH. "It's sometimes easier to say, 'Well, they're a vulnerable population, and maybe you'll be pushing an ethical boundary doing an investigational study.'"

Several studies have shown surprising effects of antidepressants in patients with cardiovascular problems. A paper published in the March 5, 2015, issue of Science Translational Medicine indicated that the antidepressant Paxil (paroxetine, Glaxosmithkline plc) was better than beta blockers at treating heart failure after an experimental heart attack in mice.
CROI 2015
Researchers gathered in Seattle last week to share their latest progress in fighting HIV and the infectious diseases that come in its wake at the 2015 annual Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections. As with most diseases, success in the fight against HIV has always been helped or hindered by the broader landscape that those efforts are embedded in.

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