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Research round-up

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West Nile virus

July 31, 2000

NEW YORK, July 28 (Praxis Press) In late August 1999, an outbreak of encephalitis caused by West Nile virus (WNV) was detected in New York City and in neighboring counties. As a result, in May 2000, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued guidelines and provided funds to support mosquito-control and risk-reduction campaigns and surveillance in 19 states where WNV transmission had occurred or would likely occur. A new report by the CDC states that from May 6 through July 8, 20

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Folding both ways

July 27, 2000

A single RNA sequence can fold to form two structurally unrelated but catalytically active ribozymes.

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NEW YORK, 26 July (Praxis Press) The long-term viral and clinical patterns of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection are unknown. Thomas and colleagues studied the incidence and determinants of viral clearance and clinical outcome in patients who acquired HCV by injecting drugs. Viral clearance occurred in about 10% of patients during a median follow-up of 8.8 years; clearance occurred more often in non-black patients and in non-HIV-infected patients. End-stage liver disease (ESLD) occurred in about

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NEW YORK, 26 July (Praxis Press) The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) lipodystrophy syndrome is characterized by fat redistribution and insulin resistance; this syndrome is particularly common among patients receiving combined antiretroviral therapy. Hadigan and colleagues studied the safety and efficacy of metformin in patients with the HIV lipodystrophy syndrome. Low-dose metformin treatment decreased body mass index and abdominal fat, improved hyperinsulinemia, and lowered diastolic blood p

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NEW YORK, 26 July (Praxis Press) The Systolic Hypertension in the Elderly Program (SHEP) revealed that treatment of isolated systolic hypertension decreases the incidence of both fatal and nonfatal strokes. Perry and colleagues, in an extension of SHEP, studied the effects of antihypertensive treatment on the incidence of specific types of stroke. Treatment decreased the incidence of hemorrhagic stroke within one year and the incidence of ischemic stroke within two years. Within the ischemic str

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The internet and STDs

July 27, 2000

NEW YORK, 26 July (Praxis Press) The internet is a new forum for anonymously finding sex partners. McFarlane and colleagues studied the risk of exposure to sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) among people who sought sex partners on the internet. More than 10% of clients undergoing HIV testing at a Denver clinic reported having sex with a partner they first met on the internet. Clients who sought sex online, relative to clients who didn't, were more likely to be men, to be homosexual, and to hav

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Early globetrotters

By | July 26, 2000

Were the Pacific islands of Polynesia colonized by people migrating from Taiwan or Melanesia? Su et al suggest in the July 18 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that neither theory is correct, and that southeast Asia may have been the starting-off point (Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 2000, 97:8225-8228). They base their claims on haplotypes from the nonrecombining portion of the Y chromosome. Only one Polynesian haplotype is shared with the Taiwanese, whereas nine of ten Pacific island

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Human knockouts?

By | July 26, 2000

Mobile group II intron RNAs insert directly into DNA target sites before being reverse-transcribed by an intron-encoded protein. Target site recognition involves base-pairing between the RNA and DNA, and interactions between flanking DNA and the intron-encoded protein. In the 21 July Science, Guo et al use an Escherichia coli-based selection procedure and randomized intron sequences to derive group II introns capable of inserting into alternative target sites (Science 2000, 89:452-457). One of t

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AIDS-defining illnesses

July 25, 2000

NEW YORK, July 24 (Praxis Press) The introduction of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) may have altered clinical patterns of HIV-related diseases. Mocroft and colleagues studied the incidence and types of AIDS-defining illnesses (ADIs) in European outpatient clinics between 1994 (pre-HAART) and 1998 (post-HAART). The incidence of ADIs declined significantly, and rates of ADIs were lower among patients receiving HAART for all CD4-cell strata. Non-Hodgkin lymphoma became one of the most

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and CAD

July 25, 2000

NEW YORK, July 24 (Praxis Press) Preliminary reports have noted an association between Chlamydia pneumoniae infection and coronary artery disease (CAD). Wald and colleagues and Danesh and colleagues studied the association between C. pneumoniae infection and subsequent CAD in large, prospective case-control studies. Baseline C. pneumoniae IgG and IgA titers were not significantly different between subjects who later suffered myocardial infarction or died from coronary heart disease and control s

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