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Publication: Health Tips Weekly
Baby teeth used for radiation study

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       HEALTH TIPS WEEKLY - Thursday, May 29, 2008 
             "News That Keeps You Healthy"   

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           Vaccine can prevent, reverse diabetes

PITTSBURGH, -- U.S. medical researchers say they've devel-
oped a vaccine that might be able to prevent and even rev-
erse development of type 1 diabetes. The scientists at the 
University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and the Baxter 
Healthcare Corp. said microspheres carrying targeted nucleic
acid molecules fabricated in laboratories have been shown to
prevent and even reverse new-onset cases of type 1 diabetes 
in animal models. In research conducted at the Children's 
Hospital of Pittsburgh, the scientists injected the micro-
spheres under the skin near the pancreas of mice with auto-
immune diabetes. The microspheres were then captured by 
white blood cells known as dendritic cells that released the
nucleic acid molecules within the dendritic cells, the re-
searchers said. The released molecules reprogrammed the 
cells, and then migrated to the pancreas. There, they turned
off the immune system attack on insulin-producing beta 
cells. Within weeks, the scientists said, diabetic mice were
producing insulin again with reduced blood glucose levels.
The study is reported in the June issue of the journal 


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          FDA asks Xiadafil VIP Tabs be recalled

WASHINGTON, -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said 
it has asked SEI Pharmaceuticals of Miami to recall all of 
its Xiadafil VIP Tabs. The FDA said the recalled drug -- 
sold in 8 tablet bottles (Lot 6K029) or blister cards of 2 
tablets (Lot 6K029-SEI) -- might contain a potentially harm-
ful, undeclared ingredient that can cause life-threatening 
side effects. The recalled lots of Xiadafil VIP Tabs bear 
an expiration date of "09/09". Xiadafil VIP Tabs are market-
ed as a dietary supplement for sexual enhancement and able 
to treat erectile dysfunction. The federal agency said 
although labeled as a dietary supplement and touted as "all-
natural," Xiadafil VIP Tabs are an illegally marketed drug 
that contains a potentially harmful undeclared ingredient --
hydroxyhomosildenafil -- that is an analog of sildenafil, 
the active ingredient in Viagra, an FDA-approved prescrip-
tion drug for ED. Federal officials said they have not 
approved Xiadafil VIP Tabs for ED or any other drug use, 
and its safety and effectiveness is unknown. The tabs were 
promoted and sold over the Internet, given away as free 
samples at trade shows and sold in health food stores 

            Baby teeth used for radiation study

ST. LOUIS, -- U.S. researchers say thousands of baby teeth 
collected around St. Louis in the 1950s and '60s will be 
used to study radiation exposure. Scientists said the teeth 
were collected as part of a study on the radioactive fallout
from nuclear bomb tests, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch 
reported. The newspaper said the findings played a roll a 
1963 ban on atmospheric tests of nuclear weapons. The New 
York-based Radiation and Public Health Project said 
researchers will identify 200 healthy tooth donors and 100 
tooth donors who later developed cancer. The baby teeth will
be tested for the radioactive chemical strontium 90, which 
is found in bomb fallout and nuclear reactors, the Post-
Dispatch said.

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         Molecule stops, prevents colitis symptoms
BOSTON, -- U.S. medical scientists say they've discovered 
a sugar molecule produced by a bacterium in a person's gut 
that can mitigate colitis symptoms in lab animals. And, 
aside from reversing the symptoms, when the molecule was 
administered to animal models of colitis, disease symptoms 
did not develop. The team of researchers from the Harvard 
Medical School, Brigham and Women's Hospital and the Cali-
fornia Institute of Technology said the molecule produced 
by the bacterium in the gut's intestinal microflora can 
eliminate symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease -- a cond-
ition that includes Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis.
"Given the sheer number of bacteria in the gut, the poten-
tial for discovering new molecules that can treat a whole 
range of these diseases is promising," said Professor Dennis
Kasper, co-lead author of the study. The research -- the 
first to show a beneficial molecule produced by intestinal 
bacteria can work therapeutically in an animal model -- is 
presented as the cover story in the May 29 issue of the 


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         Virus might help Huntington's victims move

ATLANTA, -- U.S. scientists say they've created a tool 
called an "intrabody" that can remove the mutant protein 
that drives neurodegeneration in Huntington's disease. Emory
University researchers said they engineered a virus to make 
an intracellular antibody, or "intrabody," against hunting-
tin, the protein whose mutant forms poison the brain cells 
of people with Huntington's disease. Injecting the virus 
into the brains of mice that make mutant huntingtin improves
their ability to move their limbs, although it doesn't pro-
long their lives. Other researchers have shown various int-
rabodies can protect cells from mutant huntingtin, but the 
Emory team led by Professor Xiao-Jiang Li said it is the 
first to examine the effects of an intrabody in living mice.
The scientists said delivering the intrabody to brain tis-
sues in people would be a formidable challenge, since it 
would require some form of gene therapy. However, Li said it
might be possible to use information about the intrabody's 
structure to find drugs that mimic its effects. The study 
is in the May-June issue of the Journal of Cell Biology.

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