ASCLS eNewsBytes
October 27, 2009

Obama declares swine flu a national emergency
U.S. President Barack Obama has declared 2009 H1N1 swine flu a national emergency, the White House said. The declaration will make it easier for U.S. medical facilities to handle a surge in flu patients by allowing the waiver of some requirements of Medicare, Medicaid and other federal health insurance programs as needed. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that swine flu has become widespread in 46 of the 50 U.S. states, a level comparable to the peak of ordinary flu seasons but far earlier and with more waves of infection expected.More

BRCA1 associated with depletion of oocyte reserve, explaining infertility
Medscape Medical News
BRCA1 gene mutations appear to be associated with early depletion of oocyte reserve, supporting the link between breast and ovarian cancer risk and infertility. Kutluk Oktay, MD, from the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology at the Westchester Medical Center-New York Medical College in Valhalla, presented the findings at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine 65th Annual Meeting.More

Womb transplants 'a step closer'
The first successful human womb transplant could take place within two years, British scientists have said. London-based experts say they have worked out how to transplant a womb with a regular blood supply so it will last long enough to carry a pregnancy. Research involving donor rabbits was presented at a U.S. fertility conference.More

Tacrolimus ameliorates metabolic disturbance and oxidative stress caused by Hepatitis C virus core protein
American Journal of Pathology
Hepatic steatosis and insulin resistance are factors that aggravate the progression of liver disease caused by hepatitis C virus infection. In the pathogenesis of liver disease and metabolic disorders in HCV infection, oxidative stress due to mitochondrial respiratory chain dysfunction plays a pivotal role. Tacrolimus (FK506) is supposed to protect mitochondrial respiratory function.More

Gaucher's disease mutation a strong risk factor for Parkinson's
Medscape Medical News
It has been a long road, but researchers have finally confirmed that mutations in the gene encoding for glucocerebrosidase, the enzyme that is deficient in Gaucher's disease, are commonly found in patients with Parkinson's disease.More

Gene therapy transforms eyesight of 12 people with rare visual defect
Los Angeles Times
Pennsylvania researchers using gene therapy have made significant improvements in vision in 12 patients with a rare inherited visual defect, a finding that suggests it may be possible to produce similar improvements in a much larger number of patients with retinitis pigmentosa and macular degeneration.More

AIDS vaccine seen as modest help
The Associated Press via The New York Times
Fresh results from the world's first successful test of an experimental AIDS vaccine confirm that it is only marginally effective. Yet, the findings are exciting to scientists, who think they may show how to make a better vaccine. The results also hint that the vaccine may work better in the general population than in those at higher risk of infection, such as gay men and intravenous drug users. It was the first time an AIDS vaccine was tested mostly in heterosexuals at average risk, and doctors have long known that how a person is exposed to HIV affects the odds of becoming infected.More

Next-gen sequencing finds 'genes of luxury'
Laboratory News
For the first time, researchers are able to look at the need for every gene in a bacterial cell in a single experiment. The new method will transform the study of gene activity and the search for weaknesses in bacterial armouries.More

Eight people treated for typhus in Long Beach, Calif.
The Associated Press via San Jose Mercury News
Health officials say eight people in Long Beach, Calif., who contracted a rare form of typhus spread by fleas were each hospitalized for at least 24 hours, but all have recovered. The city's Department of Health, says the patients' ages ranged from less than 1 year old to 59 years old. Five were male. Murine typhus is spread by fleas that have hosted on infected cats, opossums, raccoons, rats and other rodents. It is not spread person-to-person.More