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Antidepressants show potential for postoperative pain

Antidepressants show potential for postoperative pain

After a systematic review of clinical trials based on administering antidepressants for acute and chronic postsurgical pain, researchers have concluded that more trials are needed to determine whether these drugs should be prescribed for postsurgical pain on a regular basis. Dr. Ian Gilron, a professor and director of clinical pain research in the Department of Anesthesiology, and his team of seven researchers reviewed 15 trials to determine whether the use of antidepressants for pain relief post-surgery would work more effectively than painkillers such as opioids, local anesthetics, or acetaminophen. Continue reading

How Ebola blocks immune system

How Ebola blocks immune system

Researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine have identified one way the Ebola virus dodges the body’s antiviral defenses, providing important insight that could lead to new therapies, in research results published in the journal Cell Host & Microbe. In work performed at Beamline 19ID at Argonne National Laboratory’s Advanced Photon Source, the researchers developed a detailed map of how a non-pathogenic Ebola protein, VP24, binds to a host protein that takes signaling molecules in and out of the cell nucleus. Their map revealed that the viral protein takes away the host protein’s ability to carry an important immune signal into the nucleus. Continue reading

WHO issues roadmap to scale up international response to the Ebola outbreak in west Africa

WHO issues roadmap to scale up international response to the Ebola outbreak in west Africa

The World Health Organization (WHO) has issued a roadmap to guide and coordinate the international response to the outbreak of Ebola virus disease in west Africa. The aim is to stop ongoing Ebola transmission worldwide within 6-9 months, while rapidly managing the consequences of any further international spread. It also recognizes the need to address, in parallel, the outbreak’s broader socioeconomic impact. Continue reading

Exit strategy: Is it time to rethink the VA healthcare system?

Exit strategy: Is it time to rethink the VA healthcare system?

As the federal government plans its exit strategy from the war, now may be the time for it to rethink its role in providing health care to veterans, says a Perspective piece in the New England Journal of Medicine. “To simply go on doing more of the same is to fail to recognize the challenge that the Veterans Health Administration’s cost and population structure pose in the longer run,” said William Weeks, from The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy & Clinical Practice, and David Auerbach, from the RAND Corporation, in the August issue of NEJM . The VA incurs high fixed costs of a brick-and-mortar health care system, the largest salaried workforce in the federal government, and a large administration.To sustain this system, the VA has pursued a strategy of increasing enrollment among veterans — about two-thirds of enrollees use VA services — which has led to calls for expanding and building more facilities. Continue reading

First study of brain activation in MS using fNIRS

First study of brain activation in MS using fNIRS

Using functional near infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS), Kessler Foundation researchers have shown differential brain activation patterns between people with multiple sclerosis (MS) and healthy controls. This is the first MS study in which brain activation was studied using fNIRS while participants performed a cognitive task Continue reading

What can 14th century Venice teach us about Ebola, other emerging threats?

What can 14th century Venice teach us about Ebola, other emerging threats?

The way in which the Italian city of Venice dealt with the outbreak of the plague in the fourteenth century holds lessons on how to even mitigate the consequences of today’s emerging threats, like climate change, terrorism and highly infectious or drug-resistant diseases. So says Dr. Igor Linkov of the US Army Engineer Research and Development Center, and a visiting professor of the Ca Foscari University in Italy Continue reading

New biomarker highly promising for predicting breast cancer outcomes

New biomarker highly promising for predicting breast cancer outcomes

A protein named p66ShcA shows promise as a biomarker to identify breast cancers with poor prognoses, according to research published ahead of print in the journal Molecular and Cellular Biology . Continue reading

Two case reports of rare stiff person syndrome

Two case reports of rare stiff person syndrome

Two female patients achieved clinical remission from the rare, debilitating neurological disease called stiff person syndrome (SPS, which can be marked by a “tin soldier” gait) after an autologous (from your own body) stem cell transplant that eventually allowed them to return to work and regain their previous functioning. SPS is a disease characterized by stiffness of the skeletal muscles, painful muscle spasms and, in severe cases, the disease can prevent movement and walking. Autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (auto-HSCT) has been used to successfully treat patients with autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis and scleroderma, which are resistant to more conventional treatment. Continue reading

Complication risk of deep brain stimulation similar for older, younger Parkinson patients

Complication risk of deep brain stimulation similar for older, younger Parkinson patients

Older patients with Parkinson disease (PD) who undergo deep brain stimulation (DBS) appear to have a 90-day complication risk similar to younger patients, suggesting that age alone should not be a primary factor for excluding patients as DBS candidates. 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