A new antibiotic for gonorrhea

Artificial intelligence may detect Alzheimer’s much before diagnosis. An artificial intelligence algorithm using PWT scan can predict Alzheimer’s disease (AD) at an early stage. Investigators studied more than 2000 prospective 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose (18F-FDG) PET images taken from 1000 patients from the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI). They trained the algorithm on 90% of the dataset and then tested it on the remaining 10%. The algorithm successfully “learned” to identify the metabolic patterns that corresponded to AD. When the algorithm was tested on an independent set of 40 images from 40 never-studied patients, it achieved 100% sensitivity at detecting the disease an average of more than 6 years prior to the final diagnosis. The study was published online November 6 in Radiology.

A new antibiotic for gonorrhea. An investigational oral antibiotic called zoliflodacin was well-tolerated and successfully cured most cases of uncomplicated gonorrhea when tested in a Phase 2 multicenter clinical trial, according to findings published today in the New England Journal of Medicine. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, sponsored the clinical study. Zoliflodacin (formerly known as ETX0914 and AZD0914), developed by Entasis Therapeutics based in Waltham, Massachusetts, represents a new type of oral antibiotic that inhibits DNA synthesis in a different way than currently approved antibiotics.

In March 2018, NIAID completed a study to evaluate zoliflodacin’s pharmacokinetics, safety and tolerability as a single oral dose to serve as a bridge from the Phase 2 clinical trial formulation to the final formulation for Phase 3 testing. Results from that study have not yet been made public. In September 2018 NIAID launched a Phase 1 study to evaluate the investigational drug’s cardiac effects, a standard safety test for new drugs such as this. Zoliflodacin has been awarded fast track status by the US FDA for development as oral treatment for gonococcal infections. It is expected to begin Phase 3 testing in the Netherlands, South Africa, Thailand and the US next year.

New law focuses on CPR in public schools in the US. Starting next school year, a 2016 Senate Bill will require all public and charter school districts in Arizona to teach students CPR at least once during their high school career. A study testing sixth grade students and their capacity to use hands-only CPR found that the majority of children could perform CPR in the correct location and at the appropriate compression rate, according to the American Heart Association (AHA). CPR is an emergency lifesaving procedure performed when the heart stops beating. Immediate CPR can double or triple chances of survival after cardiac arrest. For the general public or bystanders who witness an adult collapse, compression-only CPR, or hands-only CPR, is encouraged.

Air pollution has a disastrous effect on children. Worldwide, up to 14% of children aged 5 – 18 years have asthma relating to factors including air pollution. Every year, 543 000 children younger than 5 years die from respiratory disease linked to air pollution. Air pollution is also linked to childhood cancers. Pregnant women are exposed to air pollution, it can affect fetal brain growth. Air pollution is also linked to cognitive impairment in both children and adults.

Six reasons to protect babies and children from air pollution (WHO)

  1. Their lungs are still developing, and air pollution can interfere with this biological process
  2. Their bodies are less able to metabolize, detoxify, and excrete the toxicants contained in air pollution
  3. Their brains are still developing, and neurotoxic compounds in air pollution can affect children’s cognitive development
  4. They inhale more air per unit of bodyweight than adults
  5. They are more active and therefore breathe in more air pollution
  6. Babies born to women who were exposed to air pollution during their pregnancy are more likely to be premature and low birth weight

Over 7 lakh people will be screened for tuberculosis from 65 high-risk pockets in Mumbai as part of an active case-finding drive by BMC between November 12 and 24. The door-to-door campaign is aimed at early detection of the disease so that patients can be treated on time and the spread of infection is arrested. Mumbai remains one of the highest prevalence cities in India. In 2017, nearly 45,000 cases of drug-sensitive TB were detected, while multi-drug resistant and extensively drug-resistant TB cases were more than 5,000… (ET Healthworld, Nov. 8, 2018)

Preserving sperm stem cells restores fertility in mice (NIH). Chemotherapy for cancers in children can cause infertility in both girls and boys. Boys who have gone through puberty can often bank sperm before cancer treatment, allowing them to become fathers as adults. But prepubescent boys don’t yet produce sperm that can be banked. Scientists haven’t yet found a way to grow sperm-producing stem cells, called spermatogonial stem cells (SSCs), in culture. If researchers could find a way to grow SSCs that are harvested from young boys before cancer treatment, they might be transplanted to restore fertility once the boys are cancer-free. A research team led by Dr Sandra Ryeom at the University of Pennsylvania set out to understand how testicular endothelial cells (TECs) help SSCs thrive and produce sperm. The study was supported in part by NIH’s National Cancer Institute (NCI). Results appeared on October 22, 2018, in Nature Communications.

The scientists first treated adult mice with the chemotherapy drug busulfan, which causes infertility. Five weeks after treatment, they transplanted healthy TECs into the testes of the mice. Seven weeks after transplantation, sperm production in mice that received the TECs was substantially restored compared with mice that didn’t receive any TECs. This result showed that TECs stimulated the growth of surviving SSCs. When SSCs from mice were cultured along with TECs in the laboratory, the stem cells stayed healthy for more than 3 months. Whereas, SSC cultures grown without TECs died within a week.

Higher serum levels of serum omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids are associated with healthy aging in adults, defined as survival without chronic disease, such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, lung disease, or severe chronic kidney disease (BMJ, Oct. 17, 2018).

Film makers to blur tobacco products in smoking scenes: Bollywood production house Junglee Pictures, which was sent a notice by the Delhi government over smoking scenes and alleged promotion of tobacco products in their film, has stated that the depiction of tobacco brands was “incidental and inadvertent” and that they will blur them in copies to be provided for television broadcast in India, a city government official said.  However, the Delhi government wants the company to take similar corrective steps in copies being shown in cinema halls also.

Video to watch: TEDx Video: Doctor-patient relationship www.youtube(dot)com/ watch?v=i9ml1vKK2DQ

Dr KK Aggarwal