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Friday, 15 July 2011

NSS to focus on ayurveda, unani

After RBI governor D Subbarao complained recently that problems in important data were hampering effective policy making, the 66th round of the National Sample Survey is set to be repeated in the 68th round.This announcement was made by KP Unni Krishnan, deputy director general, zonal office, National Sample Survey Organisation, at a three-day workshop held for field officers.“There has been a lot of criticism of the findings in the 66th round, especially in consumer expenditure,” Unni Krishnan said. The data for this round was collected in 2009-10, and released in June this year.Among the more significant findings of this round were the huge disparities between incomes of the bottom and top segments of the population, with the poorer sections spending nearly half their income on food; also, the survey results showed that the growth of employment had been falling, causing commentators to remark about India’s ‘jobless growth’.Labour force participation had come down by 3% since the 61st round, for which data was collected in 2004-2005.The 68th round of the National Sample Survey, earmarked for surveys on ‘household consumer expenditure’ and ‘employment and unemployment’ has an added highlight this year.It will also record information on AYUSH, ayurveda, yoga, naturopathy, unani, siddha and homeopathy to know how popular alternative medical systems are in the country.In 2009, when the 66th round survey was undertaken, the world faced an economic crisis and general deceleration. “Although India was not affected as much as some other countries, the general perception was that it wasn’t a good year,” Unni Krishnan said.Detailing the breakdown in labour force participation, Unni Krishnan said that the female labour participation rate had fallen by 6%, although the male labour force participation rate remained the same.“Policy makers are worried. These are findings that will impact macro-economics, especially in the estimation of the GDP,” Unni Krishnan said.

Replace Salt with Seaweed Granules for a Healthy Living

Replacing salt with seaweed granules can prevent high blood pressure, strokes and early deaths, claim scientists.
The granules deliver a strong flavour but are low in salt, which is blamed for thousands of early deaths every year.
It also contains a vast array of vital micronutrients, while consumption is said to make consumers feel full, which means it could be useful in reducing obesity levels. 

The study by the Government-funded Food Innovation Project discovered that consumers find it almost impossible to tell when seaweed granules replaced salt in baked goods.
The granules are healthier because their sodium level is just 3.5 per cent compared with the 40 per cent in salt used by the food industry.
"It has a very good and defined taste, which can be a great benefit for various foods," the Daily Mail quoted Dr Craig Rose, of the Seaweed Health Foundation, as saying.



Unsolved Mystery of Kava Toxicity

A recently conducted fails to solve the mystery of why kava consumption is toxic to some people and non-toxic to others. Kava is a plant used to make dietary supplement and a trendy drink with calming effects.
Line Olsen and colleagues point out that for centuries, people of the Pacific Islands have safely consumed a beverage made from crushed kava roots.
Kava's calming effects made it popular in Western cultures in the 1990s, when people also began to use an herbal supplement for the treatment of anxiety, emotional stress and sleep problems.
But in 2001, reports of liver damage among Westerners who took kava supplements gained widespread attention.
Many Western countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada, ban or regulate the sale of kava products.
To determine why kava is toxic to some people but not to others, the researchers sifted through the scientific studies published on the topic.
Their review of 85 scientific studies on kava toxicity found no consensus on kava toxicity, despite several theories that have emerged over the years.
Culprits include methods for preparing kava, the particular species of kava used, the possible toxicity of substances produced by the body when kava is digested and genetic differences among consumers. 



India, Denmark to promote research in stem cell, traditional medicines

India and Denmark will launch joint strategic research programme in the areas of biotechnology and life sciences, especially in the emerging sectors like stem cells and cell therapy with a view to strengthen the research efforts and work developing leads.
The joint programme, to be launched by early 2012, will be in accordance with the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed in 2004 between the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) and the Danish Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MSTI) aimed at further developing and strengthening the Indo-Danish research collaboration within health science biotechnology.
The project will be managed jointly by the DBT and the Programme Commission on Individuals, Disease and Society (PCIDS) under the Danish Council for Strategic Research (DCSR). The selected projects will be funded for a period of three to five years, covering direct research activities, research training and international conferences.
“For both of the countries it is of major importance to provide solutions by means of health science biotechnology in order to accommodate the related challenges in a sustainable way. The objective is thus through the present joint strategic research programme to strengthen and intensify the research effort within these areas and to integrate the specific competencies of the Indo-Danish research groups involved,” according to the official note in this regard.
The areas suggested for the collaborative research included stem cells, cell therapy, Nucleic acid technologies, Lifestyle diseases - molecular aspects, molecular epidemiology - host and pathogen components, nutrigenomics and molecular aspects of food quality - improved nutrition safety, biotechnology perspectives of traditional medicine, cancer - molecular diagnostics and therapy, and vaccines and diagnostics.
The projects will be open for scientists from universities, research institutions and private companies in India and Denmark conducting research within the health science biotechnology area. The total economical frame is approx. €3.0 million. Up to two projects will be funded. “Significant co-financing as well as the participation of relevant public or private entities other than the main applicants is expected,” the note said.

BHU to come up with guidelines on ayurvedic medicines

 The Department of Rasa Shastra, Faculty of Ayurveda, Banaras Hindu University, is all set to come up with consumer guidelines for appropriate use of ayurvedic medicines. The guidelines would be developed under a short-term WHO project, sponsored by the Department of AYUSH, New Delhi, to promote rational use of ayurvedic medicines across the globe."It is the first of its kind project in the university that intends to develop reference documents for promoting the rational use of traditional medicine in primary health care, as emphasised in the collaborative work plan of the WHO and the Government of India," informed Anand Chaudhary, principal investigator of the project. Saying that the project has been planned in view of the emerging concerns of quality, safety and efficacy of ayurvedic medicines, he also emphasised that it would generate the need for public awareness for rational use of ayurvedic medicines. "It strongly advocates the consumer's right to be informed of the proper use of ayurvedic medicines and also intends to develop awareness generative tool for promoting appropriate use of remedies of ayurveda, which is one of the officially recognised systems of health care widely used in the country," he added.

Placebo Effect: Research Takes a Closer Look

Placebos are "dummy pills" often used in research trials to test new drug therapies and the "placebo effect" is the benefit patients receive from a treatment that has no active ingredients. Many claim that the placebo effect is a critical component of clinical practice.
 But whether or not placebos can actually influence objective measures of disease has been unclear. Now a study of asthma patients examining the impact of two different placebo treatments versus standard medical treatment with an albuterol bronchodilator has reached two important conclusions: while placebos had no effect on lung function (one of the key objective measures that physicians depend on in treating asthma patients) when it came to patient-reported outcomes, placebos were equally as effective as albuterol in helping to relieve patients' discomfort and their self-described asthma symptoms. 
The study was led by Harvard Medical School investigators at Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) and appears in the July 14 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM). 
"We were trying to understand whether a placebo effect exists and, if so, whether it was similar with regard to both objectively and subjectively reported measures, and whether similar effects could be observed using different types of placebo," explains lead author Michael Wechsler, MD, Associate Director of the Asthma Research Center at BWH and Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School (HMS).



Research Reveals New Method Defibrillates Heart With Much Less Electricity - and Pain

A new and much less painful and potentially damaging method to end life-threatening heart fibrillation  has been developed by Cornell scientists, in collaboration with physicists and physician-scientists in Germany, France and Rochester, N.Y.
The new technique, which is reported in the July 14 issue of the journal Nature, cuts the energy required for defibrillation by 84 percent, compared to conventional methods.In healthy hearts, electrical pulses propagate across the heart muscle in an orderly fashion to control the heart''s contraction and relaxation cycle at regular intervals. However, when the electrical pulses propagate throughout the heart chaotically, it disables the regular heartbeat and prevents the body from getting fresh supplies of blood.

One of these rhythm disturbances, called atrial fibrillation, is the most common sustained cardiac arrhythmia worldwide, affecting about 1 percent of the population, mostly people older than 50 years. 
Patients who suffer repeatedly from atrial fibrillation are typically treated with a large electrical pulse (defibrillation), which forces the heart back into its regular beating but is painful and can damage the surrounding tissue. The new method, LEAP (Low-Energy Anti-fibrillation Pacing), developed by a team co-led by Cornell College of Veterinary Medicine researcher Flavio Fenton, uses a heart catheter to create a sequence of five weak electrical signals in the heart. 
"Only a few seconds later, the heart beats 
regularly again," said the team''s other co-leader, Stefan Luther of the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization (MPI DS) and a Cornell adjunct professor in biomedical sciences.


Thursday, 14 July 2011

6 foods to help you have great sex

They say sex is a great stressbuster. They are right because love-making has been found to relive the pressure of the burdens of life, ease stress, soothe chronic aches and pains, spur creativity and rev up the energy levels.
Experts say that anything that makes you feel good, alive and physically excited will make you feel as if you've shed years. And all these things are associated with sex.
You are probably aware of the basics of terrific sex, but let us suggest you a few aphrodisiacs which can add zing to your sex life.
Figs have been found to be brimming with minerals like magnesium, manganese and zinc and alsoVitamin E. All of them can do wonders to spice up your sex life.
The flashy-red watermelons contain a substance called citrulline, which sends the body the signals to release arginine, which relaxes blood vessels. This produces an effect similar to Viagra. And need we give you details about what Viagra does?
You've tried whiskly, you've tried wine but didn't feel the buzz. Pick a bottle of champagne and feel the difference. It enters the bloodstream faster than the wine does, so make sure you don't drink too much of it. Many champagnes have been found to have the same amount of antioxidants as red wine.
The Red Hot Chilli Peppers can bring out the hotness in you. They help recreate the symptoms of arousal: flushed cheeks, a quiver on your tongue, and more kissable lips. They also up the heat in the body.
Cheese releases 10 times more endorphins than the great ol' aphrodisiac - Chocolate. It will help you set the right mood.
Chocolate has been your trusted friend when it comes to having a great sex. You just need to maintain the bond. Its aphrodisiac property has been ascribed to two chemicals. One, tryptophan, which is the building block of serotonin, a brain chemical involved in sexual arousal. And two, phenyethylamine, a stimulant.
So the kind of food we gorge upon can do wonders with our sex life. Right food can make you positively sexual. 

India's Meat Consumption On the Rise

Despite a strong culture of vegetarianism, India sees a sharp rise in consumption of meat than ever before. Indians are shunning their religious taboo about consuming beef, as diets change and hygiene improves in the processing industry.The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) says Indians' per capita consumption of meat is running at 5.0 to 5.5 kilograms (11 to 12 pounds) a year, the highest since it began compiling records, reflecting a wider taste for protein-rich diets in developing countries. 
Experts say strong economic growth, which has led to increasingly affluent, better-travelled consumers, is partly the reason for the rise, leading to new opportunities for supermarkets and restaurants to cater to more varied palates.
"Indians are losing their inhibitions and getting adventurous," said Jaydeep Mukherjee, executive chef at Indigo Delicatessen, one of Mumbai's most popular foreign cuisine restaurants.
"Beef (buffalo) and pork steaks are regular favourites," he told AFP.
The fine-dining restaurant, which prides itself on its Reuben sandwich with pastrami, is now scouting for suppliers to source pheasant, quail and duck meat for its restaurants at the Phoenix Mills shopping mall and in south Mumbai.
"Meat consumption, which was once dependent on parental sanction, is going up rapidly with more liberal attitudes and greater Western influences," added Mohit Khattar, managing director of gourmet food chain Nature's Basket.
For Khattar, eating non-vegetarian food is no longer a luxury while the standard of domestic meat production has become more hygienic, improving consumer confidence.



Thrown Away Dry Onion Skin are Rich in Fibre and Flavonoid

The brown skin and external layers of onion which are thrown away as waste are rich in fibre and flavonoids, while the discarded bulbs contain sulphurous compounds and fructans. Scientists say that all of these substances are beneficial to health.
Production of onion waste has risen over recent years in line with the growing demand for these bulbs. More than 500,000 tonnes of waste are generated in the European Union each year, above all in Spain, Holland and the United Kingdom, where it has become an environmental problem. The waste includes the dry brown skin, the outer layers, roots and stalks, as well as onions that are not big enough to be of commercial use, or onions that are damaged. 

"One solution could be to use onion waste as a natural source of ingredients with high functional value, because this vegetable  is rich in compounds that provide benefits for human health", Vanesa Benítez, a researcher at the Department of Agricultural Chemistry at the Autonomous University of Madrid (Spain), tells SINC.
Benítez's research group worked with scientists from Cranfield University (United Kingdom) to carry out laboratory experiments to identify the substances and possible uses of each part of the onion. The results have been published in the journal Plant Foods for Human Nutrition.
According to the study, the brown skin could be used as a functional ingredient high in dietary fibre (principally the non-soluble type) and phenolic compounds, such as quercetin and other flavonoids (plant metabolites with medicinal properties). The two outer fleshy layers of the onion also contain fibre and flavonoids.


ICMR develops kit for detection of urinary oxalate for semi-quantitative analysis

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has developed a kit for the detection of the urinary oxalate for semi-quantitative analysis by using disposable strips, and claimed to be having many advantages compared to the available tools for similar tests.
The ICMR has invited potential licencees for the disposable strips for Semi-Quantitative analysis of urinary oxalate. Right now, various methods and biosensors are available for oxalate determination but they suffer from one or the other drawback such as complex procedures, requirement of laboratory facility, expensive equipments, skilled persons for analysis and are time-consuming process.
On the other hand, the new kit developed by the ICMR has many advantages compared to the traditional kits available in the markets now, according to the IPR unit of the ICMR. The Council has already got the patent for this technology.
The bio-strip of this new invention can be used by a person at his bedside, without the help of a laboratory and skilled person to differentiate a normal urine sample from a hyperoxaluria sample. Besides being a simple process, it will take less time compared to other kits available. ``The bio-strip shows no loss of activity even after its storage at 4ºC for three months,’’ according to the official.
Determination of oxalate in urine and blood is of great interest, as it directly indicates the concentration of oxalate in the human body.   The measurement of oxalate in urine and plasma is very important for the diagnosis and medical management of innumerable disease condition like primary and secondary hyperoxaluria, idiopathic, steatorrhoea, ileal disease, ethylene glycol poisoning, E-ferrol toxicity syndrome, etc.

Awareness of Dietary Iodine Intake in Postpartum Korean-American Women Urged by BUSM Researchers

The potential health impacts for Korean and Korean-American women and their infants from consuming brown seaweed souphave been highlighted by researchers at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM).
Seaweed is a known source of dietary iodine, particularly in Korea; however, there is no scientific data on the iodine content in Korean seaweed soup.Written as a Letter to the Editor for the journal Thyroid and published online, the authors discuss the adverse effects of consuming excess amounts of iodine, which include iodine-induced hypothyroidism, thyrotoxicosis and goiter. Previous studies have shown that iodine content in breast milk of Korean lactating mothers has a strong correlation with the frequency and quantity of brown seaweed soup consumption. 
"Traditionally, Korean and Korean-American women eat brown seaweed soup daily during their early postpartum period, yet they are not aware of risks associated with eating too much iodine-rich foods," said the lead author, Soo Rhee, MD, from the section of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Nutrition at BUSM. 
The researchers randomly picked 10 different brands of brown seaweed available in the U.S. for their research. Utilizing the same recipe for each batch, the researchers measured the iodine concentration of the dry seaweed, the seaweed soup broth and the blended mixture of broth and solid soup. What they found were varied amounts of iodine in the soups based on where the seaweed was from and when it was harvested. Given the range of iodine content in the soup recipes, as well as previous research looking at daily brown seaweed soup consumption in postpartum Korean women, many of these women could potentially be ingesting more iodine than the World Health Organization and Institute of Medicine recommends.


Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Keraleeya Ayurveda Samajam: Nurturing ayurveda in a Vedic way

The Keraleeya Ayurveda Samajam situated in Shoranur on the banks of the river Bharathapuzha is a proud tribute to the living tradition of ayurveda. In 1902, the then Zamorin of Calicut, Manavikrama Ettan Raja had a celestial vision on the general health care of his subject. He wanted the knowledge and wisdom in ayurveda acquired by the Vaidhyas, through ages of observations and learning to be made available to the common man, at a time when it was available only to the rich and privileged. Keraleeya Ayurveda Samajam was thus formed with the involvement of Zamorin, the Maharaja of Cochin, Ashtavaidhyas and other well wishers.
What makes Its unique
The Keraleeya Ayurveda Samajam pharmacy is the first vaidyasala in which more than 500 products are manufactured with its traditional purity. The methods employed are traditional and mostly non-mechanised. Wood is still used as fuel. Medical decoctions, oils, medicated ghee’s, powders, tablets and fermented medicines are some of the categories in the production unit. Fresh medicated decoctions are prepared in the pharmacy kitchen and supplied in the ward for in- patients and are devoid of preservatives.
Around 8-9 decades before, the Samajam introduced the systematised practices of Panchakarma and specialised Kerala therapies. Modern diagnostic methods and clinical investigations are utilised effectively in the Samajam hospital. Total 105 patients can be accommodated at a time in independent cottages and the general wards.
PNNM College
Recently Samajam has started a new venture, The Poomulli Neelakandan Namboodiripad Memorial Ayurveda Medical College, near old Kalamandalam is located in serene atmosphere on the banks of the river Nila. The college started functioning in the academic year 2007- 08 and has been recognised by the C.C.I.M, government of India and affiliated to the University of Calicut. The college is run under aegis of Sri Jagadguru Shankaracharya Mahasamsthanam Dhakshinamnaya Sri Sharadha peetam, Sringeri, Karnataka. Besides imparting information on ayurveda, basic classes are conducted on allied sciences like Vasthu, Thanthra Sasthra, Yoga, Jyothisha etc.
Keraleeya Ayurveda Samajam has already established an Academic Research & Information Centre (ARIC). Over 400 works on classical ayurveda and related subject areas are digitalised and preserved for the use of future generations. And, the work is going on. The information thus augmented will be made universally accessible through different international languages. Research work is already in progress on autism. An outlet of this has been started at Bengaluru. A national seminar was organised at PNNM Ayurveda Medical College on autism spectrum disorders. Recently another seminar entitled ‘Suputhreeyam’ was conducted to provide advice for parents-to-be.
Sringeri Ayurdham
Sringeri Ayurdham is a heritage healthcare centre run by the management of Sri Sri Jagadguru Shankaracharya Mahasamsthanam, Dakshinamnaya Sri Sharada Peetham, Sringeri, Karnataka. Situated in a picturesque location on the serene banks of River Purna (Periyar) and a dense forest on either side of the river, Ayurdham is an ideal place to refresh and rejuvenate.

Once-daily AIDS pill can slash HIV infection risk

AIDS drugs designed to treat HIV can also be used to reduce dramatically the risk of infection among heterosexual couples, two studies conducted in Africa showed for the first time on Wednesday.The findings add to growing evidence that the type of medicines prescribed since the mid-1990s to treat people who are already sick may also hold the key to slowing or even halting the spread of thesexually transmitted disease.The research involving couples in Kenya, Uganda and Botswana found that daily AIDS drugs reduced infection rates by an average of at least 62 percent when compared with placebo."Effective new HIV prevention tools are urgently needed and these studies could have enormous impact in preventing heterosexual transmission," Margaret Chan, director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO), said in a statement.She said the United Nations health agency would now work with countries to use the new findings to implement better protection strategies.The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention plans to review the data and issue its own guidelines -- taking into account issues such as whether behavior may change when people know they are taking a drug that reduces infection risk, said Dr. Jonathan Mermin, CDC director HIV/AIDS prevention.In its first official guidance on the topic, the CDC said in January that only high-risk gay and bisexual men should use a daily AIDS pill to protect themselves from the virus.
The larger of the two new studies examined 4,758 "discordant" couples in Kenya and Uganda in which one partner was HIV-positive and one was negative. Those negative partners taking Gilead Sciences Inc's tenofovir, or Viread, had on average 62 percent fewer infections.
For couples on Truvada -- another Gilead drug combining tenofovir and emtricitabine -- the infection risk was cut by an estimated 73 percent in the clinical trial, which was led by researchers at the University of Washington.Dr. Jared Baeten, principal investigator of the study funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, said real-life application of the results has not been determined. But Baetennoted that "discordant" couples who want to have children may now have an alternative to condoms.The second study, involving just over 1,200 sexually active men and women in Botswana, found those on daily Truvada reduced their risk of HIV infection by 62.6 percent.Lead investigator, Dr. Michael Thigpen, said Truvada proved to be safe and effective. He said the drug -- along with things like male circumcision, topical microbicide gels and condoms -- could be another tool for preventing the spread of HIV.The idea of such "pre-exposure prophylaxis," known as PrEP, has gained traction in the past year, following results of other research showing a fall in infection rates among gay men taking AIDS drugs.However, PrEP took a knock earlier this year when another study failed to demonstrate a protective effect in high-risk women. The latest strong evidence is likely to restore confidence in the approach.
Around 33 million people worldwide have the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) that causes AIDS, most living in Africa and Asia. Only about half know their HIV status, and the WHO hopes that news of an effective approach to prevention will encourage more people to get tested.Michel Sidibe, head of the UN's program on HIV/AIDS, said the new studies "could help us to reach the tipping point in the HIV epidemic."The larger study, conducted in Kenya and Uganda, had been scheduled to run until late 2012 but its placebo arm was stopped early because the evidence of efficacy was so strong.Results of the Botswana study, led by the CDC, had been due to be unveiled next week at an international AIDS congress in Rome but were released ahead of time to coincide with the University of Washington research.AIDS drugs are available as generics in many poor countries at prices as low as 25 U.S. cents a tablet, according to the WHO. Prices could fall further and supplies increase following an agreement by Gilead, the leading maker of HIV drugs, to share intellectual property rights on its medicines in a new patent pool. The California-based group Tuesday became the first drugmaker to sign up to the Medicines Patent Pool.

NIH funds new research toward an HIV cure

Five-year grants total $14 million in first year three research teams focused on developing strategies that could help to rid the body of HIV are receiving grants totalling more than $14 million a year, for up to five years, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) of the National Institutes of Health announced.
The grants are part of the Martin Delaney Collaboratory, a funding opportunity designed to foster public-private partnerships to accelerate progress toward an HIV cure. Delaney, an influential AIDS activist, died of liver cancer in 2009.
Although antiretroviral therapy enables many people infected with HIV to effectively control their virus levels and thereby stay relatively healthy, some virus remains hidden in a latent or persistent form in cells and tissues where it is not susceptible to antiretrovirals. Each research team will pursue a unique and complementary approach aimed at eradicating these remaining HIV reservoirs. To fulfil their role as members of a collaboratory, the teams will also meet periodically as their research progresses to find ways to work together.
“Martin Delaney was a true hero in the fight against HIV/AIDS, and he believed, as we do, that progress toward a cure for HIV/AIDS can be made through partnerships among scientists in government, industry and academia,” said NIAID director Anthony S Fauci, MD. “These new grants, and the collaboratory to which they belong, are one way in which we honor his memory and advance his vision.”
The research teams receiving the grants include the following: Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Centre (FHCRC) in Seattle, working with Sangamo Biosciences Inc., a biopharmaceutical company based in Richmond, California. In five projects led by co-principal investigators Keith R Jerome, MD, PhD, and Hans-Peter Kiem, MD, of FHCRC, scientists will attempt to develop proteins that directly attack HIV reservoirs, and they also will study whether a patient’s immune cells can be made resistant to the virus. These approaches for eliminating the viral reservoirs will be further tested in a preclinical model. Five core facilities will be funded as well, to provide shared resources and support services to facilitate the collaborative projects. First-year funding is $4.1 million.
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC), working with Merck Research Laboratories, headquartered in Whitehouse Station, New Jersey. Led by principal investigator David Margolis, MD, of UNC, this initiative consists of 15 scientific projects and four core facilities located at multiple universities nationwide. The researchers aim to enhance the understanding of how HIV persists in patients on antiretroviral therapy, and to develop small-molecule drug candidates and other therapies to target the viral reservoirs. First-year funding is $6.3 million.
University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), and the Vaccine & Gene Therapy Institute of Florida (VGTI) in Port St. Lucie, Fla., also working with Merck Research Laboratories —Led by co-principal investigators Steven Deeks, MD, and Michael McCune, MD, PhD, of UCSF, and Rafick-Pierre Sekaly, PhD, of VGTI, this research initiative comprises seven projects and three core facilities. The researchers seek to define the nature and location of the cells where HIV hides, better understand the immunology of how these viral reservoirs are created and maintained, and develop and test targeted treatments that eliminate HIV reservoirs without broadly activating the immune system. First-year funding is $4.2 million.
NIAID is providing primary funding for the grants. Additional funding comes from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), also part of NIH. Funding beyond the first year is subject to the availability of appropriations. Sangamo Biosciences and Merck Research Laboratories will not receive federal funds for their contribution to this research. For more information about NIAID HIV/AIDS research, visit NIAID's HIV/AIDS Web portal.
NIAID conducts and supports research — at NIH, throughout the United States, and worldwide—to study the causes of infectious and immune-mediated diseases, and to develop better means of preventing, diagnosing and treating these illnesses. News releases, fact sheets and other NIAID-related materials are available on the NIAID website. The mission of the NIMH is to transform the understanding and treatment of mental illnesses through basic and clinical research, paving the way for prevention, recovery and cure. For more information, visit the NIMH website.
National Institutes of Health (NIH), the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centres and is a component of the US Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases.


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