Health in brief
Stronger resistance to AIDS drugs foundCompiled from Times wires
© St. Petersburg Times
published July 16, 2003
The biggest study of resistance to AIDS drugs, to be released today at an international AIDS conference in Paris, finds about 10 percent of newly infected patients in Europe are infected with drug-resistant strains.
The researcher who led the study called the level of resistance to some anti-AIDS drugs "surprisingly high." Other scientists at the conference agreed the findings have worldwide public health implications and make the hunt for new classes of AIDS drugs even more critical.
They said the figure suggests many average AIDS patients who are in treatment go back to engaging in high-risk sex or needle-sharing. It also suggests an "order of battle" approach to prescribing AIDS drugs, like that used for tuberculosis medicines, should be adopted.
Smaller tests to measure resistance have been done in San Francisco, in a group of several other American cities and in Switzerland. While some of those found higher levels of resistance - of 225 patients in San Francisco, 27 percent were drug-resistant - the new study is thought to be the first to give a reliable measure of the phenomenon across a broader population, said Charles Boucher, the virology professor at the University of Utrecht who led the new study.
"You're not talking about high-risk inner city San Francisco," he said. "This is across Europe."High-fat diet increases chance of breast cancer
MILWAUKEE - Giving women another reason to limit the animal fat in their diet, a new study associates heavy animal-fat consumption during young adulthood with an increased risk of breast cancer.
The findings are from the Nurses Health Study, a long-term look at the lifestyles of more than 90,000 female nurses. Researchers found those women who ate the most red meat and high-fat dairy were 33 percent more likely to develop breast cancer than the women who ate the lowest amounts of those foods.
"What this study says is: diet counts," said Len Lichtenfeld, deputy chief medical officer for the American Cancer Society.
The 33 percent increased risk means that about one in every 20 cases of breast cancer is caused by animal-fat intake in young adult women, said Patrick Remington, a professor of public health at the University of Wisconsin Medical School. That could be up to 10,000 women this year, based on the cancer society's estimate of breast cancer diagnoses in U.S. women.
Studies have contradicted each other on the importance of fat intake, but they focused on postmenopausal women. The new results, appearing today in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, are the first based on premenopausal women.Head growth might help doctors diagnose autism
CHICAGO - A study suggests an early warning sign of the risk for autism might be abnormally fast growth in the size of an infant's head, a finding that could help doctors better diagnose the brain disorder.
Researchers say if the findings are verified in other studies, then head growth could be used along with other behavioral and biological clues to possibly make earlier evaluations of autism in children.
"If we understood what was making this change we would understand what makes autism a unique disorder," said the study's lead author, Eric Courchesne, director of the Center for Autism Research at Children's Hospital Research Center in San Diego and a professor at the University of California, San Diego. The small study by researchers from the university and the autism center was published in today's Journal of the American Medical Association.
Autism is a neurological disorder that affects the development of communication skills.West Nile spreading faster this year, officials warn
The West Nile virus is spreading much more quickly this year than last, raising fears the infection might take a bigger toll on people and wildlife, federal health officials said Tuesday.
The virus has been detected this summer in animals in at least 32 states, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta reported. At this time last year, about 20 states had detected the virus.
"What is a little concerning is that we have many more states that are reporting West Nile virus this year, compared to last year," CDC Director Julie Gerberding said.
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