Health Highlights: Feb.4, 201302/04/13
Here are some of the latest health and medical news
developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
TB Vaccine Doesn't Protect Infants: Study
An experimental tuberculosis vaccine that has shown promise in
adults does not protect babies against the deadly infectious
disease, a new study says.
The MVA85A vaccine was given to infants in South Africa, who
were then followed for up to three years. The researchers said
there was no proof that the vaccine prevented TB in the infants,
The vaccine did not cause any serious side effects, according to
the study published online in the journal
The results are "pretty disappointing," Dr. Jennifer Cohn, a
medical coordinator at Doctors Without Borders, who was not part of
the study, told the
AP. "Infants are at really high risk of TB but this doesn't
seem to offer them any protection."
New Study May Improve Understanding of Panic Attacks
A moment of fear experienced by a woman who previously could not
feel afraid may help scientists learn more about panic attacks,
according to researchers.
A rare illness had damaged the woman's amygdala, a part of the
brain that processes fear. As a result, no external threats -- such
as spiders, snakes, horror movies or risk of violence -- scared the
The New York Timesreported.
However, she suffered a panic attack during an experiment in
which she inhaled carbon dioxide through a mask in amounts that
weren't harmful but created a brief feeling of suffocation,
according to the study in the journal
Two other women -- identical twins with amygdala damage similar
to the first woman's -- also felt intense fear when they took part
in the same experiment.
The findings support the theory that while the amygdala is
central to fear generated by external threats, there is a different
brain path that triggers fear in response to internal bodily
experiences such as a heart attack, Antonio Demasio, of the
University of Southern California, told
"I think it's a very interesting and important result," said Damasio, who was not involved in this study but has worked with the first woman in the study.
NFL, GE Partnership Seeks to Improve Concussion Detection,
The NFL will partner with General Electric to promote
development of new imaging technology that would detect
concussions, and also work together to encourage the creation of
new materials for helmets to better protect the brain.
The four-year program is expected to begin in March and will
receive at least $50 million from the NFL and GE,
The New York Timesreported.
New technologies from the collaboration could appear within a
few years, according to experts.
"If they were to be putting more focus on technology for concussion management, that's obviously a good thing," Stefan Duma, an instructor at the Virginia Tech-Wake Forest University School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences and creator of the STAR helmet ratings system, told The Times.
"I would expect that to bear fruits. We're definitely not 10 years away. I would expect in a two- to five-year window you could have some real advances in imaging's ability to see concussions. Helmets are the same way," Duma said.
This is the latest of a number of efforts by the NFL to deal
with growing concerns about player concussions.
Skeleton Found Beneath Parking Lot is King Richard III:
A skeleton found beneath a parking lot in Leicester is that of
English king Richard III, who was killed in battle in 1485.
University of Leicester researchers said DNA from the bones
matched that of Canadian descendants of the king's family. "Beyond
reasonable doubt it's Richard," lead archaeologist Richard Buckley
said at a press conference,
The skeleton had 10 battles wounds, including eight to the
skull, that were inflicted around the time of death. Two of the
skull wounds were potentially fatal.
The researchers also said that the bones were those of a man in
his late 20s or early 30s. Richard was 32 when he died. The
skeleton will be reinterred in Leicester Cathedral.
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