By: Tara Burke
Our weekly linkpost, bringing you interesting and informative links on science policy issues buzzing about the internet.
Guidelines urge women to monitor stroke risks more closely than men – The American Heart Association (AHA) and American Stroke Association (ASA) released guidelines yesterday aimed at preventing strokes in women. While women share many of the same risk factors as men, they also have unique risks that stem from pregnancy complications and hormone use. These additional guidelines emphasize maintenance of safe blood pressure levels, especially in young women, and suggest that women be screened for high blood pressure before taking birth-control pills. The AHA and ASA also advocates that women who experienced preeclampsia and eclampsia during pregnancy consider these conditions a risk factor for stroke well after their pregnancy. (Lena H. Sun)
New Avian Flu Virus Ravages Poultry in Korea – A new strain of avian flu identified in South Korea on 17 January has spread nationwide and 2.8 million domestic chickens and ducks have been culled since the outbreak was discovered. Additionally, the strain has killed dozens of Baikal teal and other migratory birds. Previously this strain, H5N8, had not been seen in such a highly pathogenic form. Scientists are arguing over the origin of this strain and, to date, there are no reports of human infections. However, there is a serious worry that this strain may affect over 15,000 hens and ducks used in animal husbandry and breed improvement research. Destroying all of these animals would severely disrupt the center’s genetic resources and ongoing research projects. (Dennis Normile)
An Unusual Partnership to Tackle Stubborn Diseases – On Tuesday, the NIH along with seven nonprofit organizations and 10 large companies announced a partnership aimed at speeding up the development of drugs to treat Alzheimer’s disease, Type 2 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. The partnership involves a 5-year, $230 million effort in which the participants will share data in meetings and conference calls. This partnership will also make their findings publicly available. This joint effort benefits both academic research and industry with the ultimate goal of benefiting those suffering from these diseases. Drug companies have been strained by the enormous amount of money they have put into developing drugs but have the medications failed in clinical trials. Scientists are dealing with a flood of data from gene sequencing and other technologies, making it difficult to conclude what has been discovered. The partnership should speed up analysis and streamline communications amongst all different facets of research required to effectively create drug treatments. (Gina Kolata)
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