HEALTH

Colmers seeks feedback from UMD School of Pharmacy about H1N1 virus

BY Michael Johnsen

BALTIMORE, Md. Concerning the current outbreak of H1N1, or swine flu, Maryland’s top health official asked for feedback from the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy, with its network of pharmacists, on “what worked and what didn’t work,” the pharmacy school announced Monday.

John Colmers, Maryland secretary of health and mental hygiene, said during a recent meeting of the School of Pharmacy Board of Visitors that “we are not out of the woods yet. We have identified that this is a virus that is in our population, and we are in the phase now of lessons learned.”

He said his department is gathering data on medication and counseling provided by pharmacists during the outbreak.  Colmers said the availability of antiviral drugs was of great interest during the swine flu outbreak.

Although the federal government released 25% of its stockpile of medications and supplies for a possible pandemic, Colmers said, “We don’t understand the supply side.” He said a policy is needed to obtain better information on what is available during an outbreak.

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Mosquito gut bacteria may inhibit malaria parasite, researchers say

BY Michael Johnsen

BALTIMORE, Md. Bacteria in the gut of a mosquito may inhibit infection of Plasmodium falciparum, the parasite that causes malaria in humans, according to researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Scientists with the Bloomberg School’s Malaria Research Institute found that removing these bacteria, or microbial flora, with antibiotics made the mosquitoes more susceptible to Plasmodium infection because of a lack of immune stimulation. Their study is published in the May 8, edition of the journal PLoS Pathogens.

“Our study suggests that the microbial flora of mosquitoes is stimulating immune activity that protects the mosquito from Plasmodium infection,” stated George Dimopoulos, senior author of the study and associate professor with Johns Hopkins Malaria Research Institute. “The same immune factors that are needed to control the mosquito’s infection from the microbes are also defending against the malaria parasite Plasmodium. … The interplay between bacteria and the mosquito’s immune system may have significant implications for the transmission of malaria in the field where mosquitoes may be exposed to different types of bacteria in different regions. Theoretically, these bacteria could be introduced to the mosquitoes to boost their immunity to the malaria parasite and make them resistant and incapable of spreading the disease. Our current research aims at identifying those bacteria that trigger the strongest mosquito immune defense against the malaria parasite.”

Malaria kills more than one million people worldwide each year; the majority of deaths are among children living in Africa.

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Herb works as anti-ulcer therapy, study shows

BY Michael Johnsen

BEIJING A research team led by Syed Rafatullah from Saudi Arabia validated the gastric anti-ulcer properties of the herb Rocket “Eruca sativa L.” (EER) on experimentally-induced gastric secretion and ulceration in albino rats. The study was published April 28 in the World Journal of Gastroenterology.

In recent years, Rocket “Eruca sativa L.” (EER), a member of the Brassicacae family, has gained greater importance as a salad vegetable and spice, especially among Middle Eastern populations and Europeans. It is believed that plants belonging to the Brassicacae family possess diversified medicinal and therapeutic properties including inhibition of tumorigenesis, anti-ulcer and hepatoprotective activities.

Although the introduction of proton-pump inhibitors to the classic anti-ulcer therapy has revolutionized treatment of peptic ulcers and other gastrointestinal disorders, there is still no complete cure for this disease, researchers noted. It has been shown that long term use of these drugs leads to various adverse and side effects. Relapses of the malady, ineffectiveness of different drug regimens and even resistance to drugs are emerging. Thus, there is an urgent requirement to identify more effective and safe anti-ulcer agents.

Researchers found that the ethanolic extract of EER significantly and dose-dependently reduced basal gastric acid secretion, titratable acidity and ruminal ulceration in lab rats. The authors concluded that EER extract possesses anti-ulcer activities against experimentally-induced gastric lesions.

KelloggsDRSNhttp://www.centerstoregrowth.com

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