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Drug attacks HIV in a new way

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          HEALTH TIPS - Tuesday, February 27, 2007
               "News That Keeps You Healthy"

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                Drug attacks HIV in a new way

POMEZIA, Italy, -- Italian researchers say they've develop-
ed an AIDS drug that attacks the disease in a new way. "The 
molecule, MK518, has a wholly new mechanism," Gennaro 
Ciliberto, head of a molecular biology research institute 
run by drug company Merck, told ANSA. Ciliberto said MK518 
and other "integrase inhibitors" may help AIDS patients who 
have developed a resistance to other anti-retroviral drugs.
Integrase is an enzyme in HIV that allows the virus to 
integrate with body cells, ANSA reported. "If you knock 
integrase out of the picture, HIV can't possibly infect any-
one because the virus isn't able to replicate," Ciliberto 
told ANSA. ANSA reported Merck expects U.S. Food and Drug 
Administration approval for the drug before the end of 


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              Caffeine protects elderly hearts

BROOKLYN, N.Y., -- Drinking caffeinated beverages may pro-
tect the elderly against heart disease death, New York 
researchers have found. "The protection against death from 
heart disease in the elderly afforded by caffeine is likely
due to caffeine's enhancement of blood pressure," said Dr. 
John Kassotis, an associate professor of medicine at SUNY
Downstate. The heart-protective effects of caffeine was 
only found in patients age 65 and older who were not sev-
erely hypertensive. The researchers from SUNY Downstate 
and Brooklyn College used data from the first federal 
National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey Epidemi-
ologic Follow-up Study. They found that participants 65 
or more years old with higher caffeinated beverage intake 
had a lower risk of coronary vascular disease and heart 
mortality than did participants with lower intake of 
caffeinated beverages.

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             Circumcision cuts HIV infection

CHICAGO, -- Circumcision significantly reduces the risk 
of acquiring HIV in young African men, a study from the 
University of Chicago found. Researchers followed 2,784 
young men from Kisumu, Kenya, circumcising half of them. 
Forty-seven of the 1,391 uncircumcised men contracted 
HIV, compared to 22 of the 1,393 uncircumcised men. "Our 
study shows that circumcised men had 53 percent fewer 
HIV infections than uncircumcised men," said Robert 
Bailey, an epidemiology professor. "We now have very con-
crete evidence that a relatively simple surgical proce-
dure can have a very large impact on HIV." Bailey cau-
tioned that circumcised men might engage in risky 
behavior, feeling that they are protected from HIV. 
"Circumcision is by no means a natural condom," said 
Bailey. "We do know that some circumcised men become 
infected with HIV. But we did find that the circumcised 
men in our study did not increase their risk behaviors 
after circumcision. In fact, all men in the trial 
increased their condom use and reduced their number of 
sexual partners." The study appears in the Feb. 24 issue 
of The Lancet.

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