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Medical researcher to develop oral vaccine

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            HEALTH TIPS - Thursday, March 15, 2007
"News That Keeps You Healthy"

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Medical researcher to develop oral vaccine

COLLEGE STATION, Texas,-- A Texas A&M Health Sciences
researcher has received a $2.6 million U.S. Army grant to
create a new method of vaccine delivery for military
personnel. Molecular and cellular medicine Professor Allison
Rice-Ficht, director of the school's Center for Micro-
encapsulation and Drug Delivery, and colleagues will work on
the two-year project with the Military Infectious Disease
Research Program, a component of the U.S. Army Medical
Research and Materiel Command. "Our study focuses on
creating an improved vaccine delivery system that enhances
performance of vaccines," Rice-Ficht said. "This system
would make the vaccine stable at room temperature and suit-
able for oral consumption. These are two important factors
that would allow the vaccine to be taken without medical
personnel on-site." When complete, the new vaccines --
currently being designed for the infectious diseases
brucellosis and Q-fever -- will allow military members to
carry capsules in their pockets for oral use in a crisis
situation, Rice-Ficht said. While vaccines are immediately
useful to military personnel, she said such products also
might protect the general public against deliberate release
of harmful agents such as bacteria, viruses and toxins.

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Quality matters in kid care

WASHINGTON, -- Amid the debate about covering the nation's 9
million uninsured children, the importance of quality cover-
age may be lost, experts said this week. "Our system needs
more than just an insurance card, more than just coverage,"
said Debbie Chang, executive director of Nemours Health and
Prevention Services, a large group practice for children
based in Delaware. "(Children) need a healthcare system that
meets their needs," Chang told congressional staffers at a
briefing sponsored by the Alliance for Health Reform. Debate
is raging in Congress over proposed cuts to the Medicaid
program and the reauthorization of the State Children's
Health Insurance Program, which covers children in families
with incomes too high to qualify for Medicaid. But amid the
debate over how many children to cover and how much to spend
doing it is the broader question of what kind of healthcare
children need. "Children are not just little people, they
have unique needs," Chang said.

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Men need to improve body upkeep

WASHINGTON, -- A Boston doctor says men would rather
diagnose problems under their car's hood than problems in
their own bodies. "Women, I have discovered, tend to pay
attention to their own health and the health of other family
members, while men busy themselves keeping everything
running -- in the garage, in the office and in the house,"
Harvey B. Simon said in an article he wrote in The
Washington Post. Simon, founding editor of the Harvard Men's
Health Watch newsletter and the author of "The Harvard
Medical School Guide to Men's Health," says men suffer from
"real-men-don't-see-doctors" syndrome. He said men tend to
"put their heads under the hoods of their cars and deny
their symptoms for as long as possible." Simon advises men
to treat their bodies at least as well as they treat their
cars. "Look at it this way: You can buy a new car as soon as
the sheen goes from the paint job, but your own body has to
last you a lifetime."

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