domingo, 29 de agosto de 2010

Inflammation: telling it by heart

Brazillian scientists review evidence linking cardiovascular diseases and ankylosing spondylitis, a rheumatological condition characterized by chronic pain and inflammation.
Abstract:
Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is a systemic inflammatory rheumatic disease characterized primarily by axial joint involvement, sacroiliitis and various extra-articular manifestations. High cardiovascular mortality in AS has led many researchers to investigate possible risk factors involved with cardiovascular disease in these patients. This review summarizes published data concerning endothelial dysfunction and atherosclerosis in patients with AS. The author discusses current limitations and problems related to a better assessment of these two possible changes in AS.

Complete here.

domingo, 15 de agosto de 2010

How to prevent mortality in sickle cell anemia kids

Brazillian scientists have found high mortality in children with sickle cell anemia, a frequent cause of inherited anemia in Brazil.

Abstract:

Objective: To describe the deaths of children with sickle cell disease (SCD) in Minas Gerais, Brazil, and followed up at the Fundação Hemominas.
Methods: Cohort of children diagnosed by the Neonatal Screening Program in Minas Gerais (March/1998 to February/2005). Deaths were identified by searching for children who did not attend scheduled consultations at hemocenters. Clinical and epidemiological data were abstracted from death certificates, the newborn screening database, individual medical records, and from interviews with families.
Results: During the period, 1,833,030 newborns were screened; 1,396 had SCD (1:1,300). There were 78 deaths: 63 with SS genotype, 12 with SC genotype, and three with Sβ+thalassemia genotype. Fifty-six children (71.8%) died before 2 years of age; 59 died in hospitals and 18 at home or during transportation. Causes of death according to certificates (n = 78): infections, 38.5%; acute splenic sequestration, 16.6%; other causes, 9%; did not receive medical care, 15.4%; and not identified on certificates, 20.5%. According to interviews (n = 52) acute splenic sequestration was responsible for one third of deaths, in contrast with 14% recorded on death
certificates. Survival probabilities at 5y (SEM) for children with SS, SC, and Sβ+thalassemia were 89.4 (1.4), 97.7 (0.7), and 94.7% (3.0), respectively (SS vs. SC, p < 0.0001).
Conclusions: Even with a carefully controlled newborn screening program, the probability of SS children dying was still found to be high. Causes not identified on death certificates may indicate difficulties recognizing SCD and its complications. Educational campaigns directed at health professionals and SCD patients families should be boosted in order to decrease SCD mortality.

J Pediatr (Rio J). 2010;86(4):279-284:
Anemia, sickle cell, mortality, socioeconomic factors, health services.

Complete here.

quinta-feira, 12 de agosto de 2010

Esperança de uma vacina eficiente contra o HIV

Dois trabalhos publicados esta semana na revista Science relataram descobertas que possivelmente permitirão a pesquisadores desenvolver mais facilmente uma vacina eficiente contra o HIV. Até o momento, uma das principais dificuldades para a obtenção de uma vacina antI-HIV é a ausência de um alvo na estrutura do vírus, contra o qual se consiga gerar anticorpos eficientes em neutralizá-lo. Wu e seu time, do Vaccine Research Center, NIAID (NIH), em Bethesda, Maryland (EUA), desenvolveram uma nova técnica que permitiu-lhes isolar anticorpos altamente eficientes em anular o HIV do sangue de pacientes. Trabalhando nestes anticorpos, eles determinaram o local onde estes anticorpos de alta afinidade se ligam no vírus, idenficando um possível novo alvo para vacinas altamente eficazes. Zhou, liderando outro time de especialistas da mesma instituição, conseguiu descrever a estrutura desse tipo de anticorpo e detalhar como ele se liga ao vírus, e porque ele tem maior afinidade por ele. Encontrar anticorpos anti-HIV de alta afinidade pelo vírus no sangue de pacientes é tecnicamente muito difícil. "É como achar uma agulha num palheiro", dizem Dennis Burton (Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA) e Robin Weiss (MIT, Harvard, Boston, MA). Segundo eles, as novas descobertas vão ajudar a identificar alvos precisos para o desenvolvimento de uma vacina para a AIDS. Leia mais na Science.

terça-feira, 10 de agosto de 2010

Who made up your mind?

A Harvard team has disclosed differences in paternal/maternal influence on gene profile expression in the brain.
Abstract:
Genomic imprinting results in preferential gene expression from paternally versus maternally inherited chromosomes. We used a genome-wide approach to uncover sex-specific parent-of-origin allelic effects in the adult mouse brain. Our study identified preferential selection of the maternally inherited X chromosome in glutamatergic neurons of the female cortex. Moreover, analysis of the cortex and hypothalamus identified 347 autosomal genes with sex-specific imprinting features. In the hypothalamus, sex-specific imprinted genes were mostly found in females, which suggests parental influence over the hypothalamic function of daughters. We show that interleukin-18, a gene linked to diseases with sex-specific prevalence, is subject to complex, regional, and sex-specific parental effects in the brain. Parent-of-origin effects thus provide new avenues for investigation of sexual dimorphism in brain function and disease.
Complete here.

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