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Malaria symptoms fade on repeat infections due to loss of immune cells

Malaria symptoms fade on repeat infections due to loss of immune cells

Children who repeatedly become infected with malaria often experience no clinical symptoms with these subsequent infections, and a team led by UC San Francisco researchers has discovered that this might be due at least in part to a depletion of specific types of immune cells. Working in Uganda, one of the most malaria-plagued nations in Africa and one in which individuals are repeatedly exposed to the malaria parasite, UCSF scientists found that a depletion of immune cells known as gamma delta T cells diminishes inflammatory responses in infected children — responses that when unabated can become debilitating or deadly. “These inflammatory immune cells are depleted in children with repeated malaria exposure, and those that remain behave differently than the same cell types in children who have not previously been infected,” said Prasanna Jagannathan, MD, an assistant professor of medicine at UCSF, who conducted the lab analysis as part of a study team led by Margaret Feeney, MD, a UCSF professor of experimental medicine and pediatrics. Continue reading

Weekend hospitalization linked to longer stay for pediatric leukemia patients

Weekend hospitalization linked to longer stay for pediatric leukemia patients

Weekend admission to the hospital for pediatric patients newly diagnosed with leukemia was associated with a longer length of stay, slightly longer wait to start chemotherapy and higher risk for respiratory failure but weekend admissions were not linked to an increased risk for death. Leukemia is a common childhood cancer that accounts for about 30 percent of all pediatric cancer diagnoses. Previous research has indicated an increased risk of death in adults with leukemia whose first admission was on a weekend Continue reading

Newborn screening expansion offers early diagnosis and treatment to infants with SCID

Newborn screening expansion offers early diagnosis and treatment to infants with SCID

Using population-based screening outcomes of approximately 3 million infants, a team of scientists across 14 states, including four researchers at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, have shown that newborn screening for severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) can be successfully implemented across public health newborn screening programs. Data from 11 newborn screening programs published in the Aug. 20 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association ( JAMA ) showed the rate of SCID in newborns is higher than previously thought and believed to be 1 in 58,000 Continue reading

Teen sleeplessness piles on risk for obesity

Teen sleeplessness piles on risk for obesity

Teenagers who don’t get enough sleep may wake up to worse consequences than nodding off during chemistry class. According to new research, risk of being obese by age 21 was 20 percent higher among 16-year-olds who got less than six hours of sleep a night, compared with their peers who slumbered more than eight hours. (The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends nine to ten hours of sleep for teenagers.) Researchers at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University and the University of North Carolina Gillings School of Public Health are the first to examine the effect of sleeplessness on obesity in teenagers over time, providing the strongest evidence yet that lack of sleep raises risk for an elevated BMI Continue reading

Human milk fat improves growth in premature infants

Human milk fat improves growth in premature infants

For premature infants, adequate growth while in the neonatal intensive care unit is an indicator of better long-term health and developmental outcomes. Researchers at the USDA/ARS Children’s Nutrition Research Center at Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital have now successfully incorporated a cream supplement into premature infants’ diets that improved their growth outcomes in the NICU. Continue reading

Preemies’ gut bacteria may depend more on gestational age than environment

Preemies’ gut bacteria may depend more on gestational age than environment

Scientists believe babies are born with digestive systems containing few or no bacteria. Their guts then quickly become colonized by microbes — good and bad — as they nurse or take bottles, receive medication and even as they are passed from one adoring relative to another. However, in infants born prematurely, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Continue reading

Gene likely to promote childhood cancers pinpointed by researchers

Gene likely to promote childhood cancers pinpointed by researchers

Researchers at the Children’s Medical Center Research Institute at UT Southwestern (CRI) have identified a gene that contributes to the development of several childhood cancers, in a study conducted with mice designed to model the cancers. Continue reading

New culprit identified in metabolic syndrome

New culprit identified in metabolic syndrome

A new study suggests uric acid may play a role in causing metabolic syndrome, a cluster of risk factors that increases the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Uric acid is a normal waste product removed from the body by the kidneys and intestines and released in urine and stool. Continue reading

Gut microbes browse along gene buffet

Gut microbes browse along gene buffet

In the moist, dark microbial rainforest of the intestine, hundreds of species of microorganisms interact with each other and with the cells of the host animal to get the resources they need to survive and thrive. Though there’s a lot of competition in this vibrant ecosystem, collaboration is valued too. A new study on the crosstalk between microbes and cells lining the gut of mice shows just how cooperative this environment can be Continue reading

Growing human GI cells may lead to personalized treatments

Growing human GI cells may lead to personalized treatments

A method of growing human cells from tissue removed from a patient’s gastrointestinal (GI) tract eventually may help scientists develop tailor-made therapies for inflammatory bowel disease and other GI conditions. Reporting online recently in the journal Gut , researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis said they have made cell lines from individual patients in as little as two weeks. Continue reading