NIH Research Matters
May 2006 Archive
May 26, 2006
Allergic rhinitis, commonly known as hay fever, can strike infants as young as 6 months old, bringing a stuffy nose, sneezing, nasal itching and rubbing. In a new study looking at environmental factors that might be involved, researchers at the University of Cincinnati found that exposure to more than 20 cigarettes per day was associated with an increased risk of developing allergic rhinitis by age one.
Researchers have been exploring the potential of a technique called antisense for more than 20 years. Antisense molecules "knock down" or neutralize the effects of particular genes and thus are useful tools in the laboratory.
A new clinical trial suggests there may be a simple way to provide elderly Americans with extra protection against the seasonal flu: give them a higher dose of vaccine.
May 19, 2006
Researchers have long thought that the stronger the association between a hormone and its receptor, the more effective its signaling. In a new study, chemical knockoffs resembling a key thyroid-related hormone are, in certain cases, more effective than the real thing at activating their target receptor.
This week, an independent panel convened by NIH assessed the available evidence on the safety and effectiveness of multivitamin/mineral supplements (MVMs).
May 12, 2006
Exercise tests can be used to predict a person's risk of cardiovascular disease and mortality. But they can be too rigorous for many older adults. A new study led by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine shows that an extended walking test is effective at predicting health outcomes in older adults.
Everyone has to make decisions involving potential gains and losses. It's not always just a rational choice of what we think will bring the better outcome, though. When the outcome's delayed, the feeling we call dread can make a choice considerably more complex.
Asthma, the most common chronic childhood illness in the United States, is a breathing disease in which the airways are inflamed, making breathing difficult. Studies in older children and adults show that inhaled corticosteroids are the most effective long-term control medicine for persistent asthma.
May 5, 2006
Diuretic medications are more effective than other high blood pressure medications in preventing heart failure, at least in the short term, according to a new data analysis of a study from NIH's National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute called the Antihypertensive and Lipid-Lowering Treatment to Prevent Heart Attack Trial (ALLHAT).
Anthrax gained notoriety during the 2001 mail attacks — 22 people became ill and 5 died. The disease is caused by a spore-forming bacterium called Bacillus anthracis that produces a potent toxin. Even with antibiotic therapy, inhalation anthrax, the most severe form of the disease, has a fatality rate of 75%. Scientists funded by NIH's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), have now engineered a powerful inhibitor of anthrax toxin that worked well in small-scale animal tests.
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About NIH Research Matters
Harrison Wein, Ph.D., Editor
Vicki Contie, Assistant Editor
NIH Research Matters is a weekly update of NIH research highlights from the Office of Communications and Public Liaison, Office of the Director, National Institutes of Health.