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Health Highlights: Sept. 13, 2010

Health Highlights: Sept. 13, 2010


Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

Anti-Fungal Drugs May Help Beleaguered Bats

Scientists have identified drugs that may help fight a fungal disease that's decimating bat populations in the United States.

The New York State Department of Health team says there are several drugs that can combat the fungus and a number of antiseptics that might prove effective in decontaminating areas where bats live or the shoes and hands of people who visit them, the Associated Press reported.

The findings about possible ways to fight white-nose syndrome were presented Sunday at a meeting of the American Society for Microbiology.

"We found that two major classes of antifungal drugs have very good activity" against the fungus, microbiologist Vishnu Chaturvedi said at the meeting, the AP reported.

Tests must be conducted before there's any possibility of using these drugs and antiseptics for treatment of bats and decontamination of their habitats.


Alzheimer's-Linked Protein May Help Trigger Diabetes: Study

The protein implicated in Alzheimer's disease may cause type 2 diabetes by triggering a chain reaction that leads to the destruction of insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas, say Irish researchers.

They said their findings about amyloid protein could lead to the development of treatments that target this process, BBC News reported.

Previous research found amyloid protein in the pancreatic tissue of some patients with type 2 diabetes and it was believed that amyloid could be directly harming beta cells.

But this new study found that the ingestion of amyloid by immune cells called macrophages leads to a series of events that cause inflammation that destroys beta cells, BBC News reported.

The study appears in the journal Nature Immunology.


NIH-Funded Scientists to Restart Embryonic Stem Cell Research

U.S. government officials announced Friday that researchers at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) will resume working with embryonic stem cells after an appeals court issued a temporary suspension of a judge's recent ban.

Late last month, U.S. District Court Judge Royce Lamberth ruled that federal funding of embryonic stem cell research violated a 1996 law prohibiting the use of taxpayer dollars for such work. The Obama administration appealed that decision.

On Thursday, an appeals court issued a stay on the ban until it could hear full arguments over the next few weeks.

In the meantime, the NIH is lifting its suspension of funding for research using embryonic stem cells, the Associated Press reported.

"We are pleased with the court's interim ruling, which will allow promising stem cell research to continue" while the court battle goes on, the NIH said in a statement.

According to the AP, researchers who had already received NIH grant money had been told they could work until those funds ran out, but 22 other projects earmarked to get new funding in September had been told to look elsewhere for support.

"I take no solace in the ruling because so much uncertainty remains about the future of human stem cell research," Dr. George Daley, a leading stem cell researcher at Children's Hospital Boston, told the AP. "I won't rest peacefully until there is a clear and unambiguous vote of support from the Congress for this vital research."


Copyright © 2010 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.


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