05 February 2006

Health Notes

Stem cells are successfully treating lupus and are the only plausible new cure in sight (which is important since not everyone continues to respond to current treatments). The Bush Administration aparently would prefer that people with lupus sufferer, because the Bush administration opposes stem cell research. Lupus affects 1.5 million Americans, 90% of them women, and about 80% of cases first strike women from age 15-45. While it rarely kills, the autoimmune disease does greatly impair the lifestyle of those who suffer from it and is very expensive to treat (the average is $6,000-$10,000 a treatment per year, and in some cases costs exceed several thousand dollars per month). The proposed treatment would be targetted at those who are unresponsive to drugs, the most likely type of lupus sufferers to die from the disease.

New vaccines stop 85 percent or more of rotavirus infections, an infection that causes a diarrhea that kills more than half a million children each year worldwide.

An experimental vaccine may protect people from ricin, a castor seed based poison that is a prime biological weapon candidate.

Hat tips to Science News.

1 comment:

Aaron said...

The Bush administration does not oppose stem cell research.

They oppose public financing in the United States of stem cell research. Multi-national drug companies are still able to study, and patent, cures for diseases like lupus. The people getting locked out are foundations and universities.

That stem cells are the only reasonable avenue for many diseases is not a defect of their plan, but the central feature of it. Development gets slowed down and people die, but not only does the policy play well to the religious extremists, but it seals all the profits in the hands of Frist's backers.