Saturday, November 30, 2013

Condoms and Florence Nightingale plus other health news

I bet those are two topics most readers didn't expect to see together.  Just the same, they are the two top news items this month based on my preference of "if it moves, it leads."  Also, since sex sells, the news about condoms goes first.

Discovery News: Birth Cowtrol: Human Condoms Made From Cows?

Bill Gates challenged inventors to revolutionize the condom, and they delivered! Laci Green reports on their creations, including the condom made from cow parts. And no, we're not joking.
One of the stories I included in Overnight News Digest: Science Saturday (MAVEN to Mars) was about one of the grant winners.

University of Tennessee: Professor Receives Gates Foundation Award to Reinvent Condom, Improve Global Health
November 20, 2013
Condoms have the power to make the world healthier by preventing disease and unplanned pregnancies, yet they are vastly underutilized.

This year, Bill and Melinda Gates and their foundation issued a challenge to develop the next generation of condoms. Called Grand Challenges in Global Health, the initiative aims to foster scientific and technological innovation to solve key health problems in the developing world.

Jimmy Mays, a chemistry professor at UT, responded to the challenge with a design that will encourage condom use in developing countries. He has received $100,000 from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for research and development of a prototype.
Next, the University of Alabama, Birmingham shows its YouTube followers Florence Nightingale exhibit honors founder of modern day nursing.

Florence Nightingale left countless gifts to her profession, including a collection of 50 letters and more preserved in the UAB Historical Collections. Copies of these are on permanent exhibit in the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Nursing.
Here's the press release: UAB dean’s paper highlights Nightingale’s leadership for global health and nursing.
By Tyler Greer
Friday, November 22, 2013
The University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Nursing is home to a one-of-its-kind, interactive exhibit of 50 famous Florence Nightingale letters. School of Nursing Dean Doreen C. Harper, Ph.D., analyzed the components of these letters, which highlight Nightingale’s visionary leadership for global health and nursing within the historical context of Great Britain’s colonization of India.

The result of this analysis was the paper “Leadership Lessons in Global Nursing and Health from the Nightingale Letter Collection at the University of Alabama at Birmingham,” recently published in the Journal of Holistic Medicine. The descriptive study used a narrative analysis to examine selected letters that Nightingale wrote to or about Dr. Thomas Gillham Hewlett, a physician and health officer in Bombay, India.

“Florence Nightingale is indisputably the founder of modern nursing,” Harper said. “Nightingale also was a prominent force in the creation of global health care and global nursing. To this day, these letters offer countless leadership lessons relevant to the future of nursing and health care. It was a joy to study these letters and try to increase understanding of her visionary leadership for global nursing and health.”
Follow over the jump for more of last week's health news from campuses on the campaign trail.

University of California, San Diego: New Models Predict Where E. coli Strains Will Thrive
By Daniel Kane
November 19, 2013
Bioengineers at the University of California, San Diego have used the genomic sequences of 55 E. coli strains to reconstruct the metabolic repertoire for each strain. Surprisingly, these reconstructions do an excellent job of predicting the kind of environment where each strain will thrive, the researchers found.

Their analysis, published in the Nov. 18, 2013 early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, could prove useful in developing ways to control deadly E. coli infections and to learn more about how certain strains of the bacteria become virulent.

And when “nasty new versions” of E. coli appear, the metabolic models may someday help researchers quickly identify and characterize these new strains, said Bernhard Palsson, professor of bioengineering at UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering and a corresponding author on the paper.
DefenseTech: Bio Patch Shows Promise for Regenerating, Growing Bone
by Bryant Jordan
November 21, 2013
Researchers at the University of Iowa have developed a bio patch that helps to regenerate and grow damaged bone, possibly meaning a new way of treating wounds.

The patch is a collagen “scaffold” seeded with synthetically created plasmids – self-replicating DNA molecules – for producing bone. Researchers reported that the bio patch led to significant bone regeneration and growth in animal lab testing.

Aliasger Salem, a professor of pharmaceutical science and director of the school’s College of Pharmacy, said the technology could be applied to a range of injuries, including arm and leg fractures and craniofacial damage.

With further development, the bio patch could mean improved treatment and healing for severely injured troops and veterans.
Iowa State University: Iowa State researchers look for game-changing solution to devastating disease caused by parasitic worms
Posted Nov 22, 2013 12:00 pm
AMES, Iowa – The worms can live inside your body for years, decades even. And it’s not the worms themselves that will eventually make you sick. Rather, it’s the thousands of eggs they lay.

Schistosomes, small parasitic flatworms that have infected hundreds of millions of people in developing nations, cause chronic illness that damages organs and impairs development in children.

The effects of the disease can last decades, leading Mostafa Zamanian, a postdoctoral scholar in the Iowa State University Department of Biomedical Sciences, to describe the illness as a “slow killer.”  Zamanian said the perception of the disease as slow acting is part of the reason the international community has sometimes regarded schistosomes with less urgency than they deserve.

But Zamanian is working with a group of ISU researchers to change that.
University of Mississippi: New Collaboration Expanding Research in World-Renowned Heart Studies
Project builds upon NIH-funded Framingham and Jackson heart studies, targets "personalized medicine’
November 18, 2013
JACKSON, Miss. – A new collaborative research relationship between the American Heart Association, the University of Mississippi and Boston University, representing a bold vision for cardiovascular population science, was announced yesterday at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions in Dallas.

The collaboration has a vision of greatly expanding important population studies by adding more research subjects, more diverse subjects, more genetic analysis and deeper new approaches to gathering information in an effort to find more “personalized” treatment and prevention of cardiovascular disease. This project would help to build a “biobank” that researchers could easily access through a larger national network of population studies, including the landmark Framingham and Jackson heart studies.

“We will be transferring that success into 21st century genomics developments and network medicine,” said Joseph Loscalzo, M.D., Ph.D., chairman of the American Heart Association’s Science Oversight Group for this collaboration.
University of Iowa: Steering the conversation
New program helps parents talk to their teens about safe driving
By: Debra Venzke
2013.11.22 | 06:34 AM
Learning to drive is usually an exciting milestone for teens, but for parents it may be more worrisome than wonderful. National statistics show motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among teenagers and that crash rates for teens are highest during the first six months of driving.

And while parents want to help their children to learn to drive safely, many dread the tension (and eye-rolling) that often punctuate driving lessons.

As part of a study to help encourage safe teen driving in Iowa, researchers with the University of Iowa College of Public Health's Injury Prevention Research Center (IPRC) in collaboration with Blank Children’s Hospital conducted a “deep dive” into what was known about teen driving.
And that's it for this week's news, which took six installments to present.  I don't think next week's will be so time consuming.

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