Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Two interesting pieces of news

In JAMA from May 4, I learned about two important papers published in other journals. First, by Peca et al from Nature, new evidence that absence of the Shank3 protein from nerve cells in mice results in behavior consistent with autism. An example of important research which helps us understand autism disorders and could contribute to a treatment, both much more fruitful that continuing to pretend that toxins and vaccines cause the disease.

Second, by Lin et al from Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, scientists have identified a compund in a plant sometimes in Chinese medicine to treat inflammation. This compund, abbreviated as PGG, may prevent Staph. aureus (a potentially lethal infection) from forming "biofilms". While PGG does not directly kill Staph, these biofilms act like a bunker or a shield to allow the bugs to avoid white blood cells and antibiotics. Destroy their shields, and they potentially become easier to treat.

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