Treating asthma by targeting the immune system? – T cells take my breath away! #science #twinning

A new connection between asthma and T cells in the immune system!! Props to my twin brother – one of the authors, and the featured scientist in the NIH video below! More info from the NIAID here – paper in Science Translational Medicine here, and featured summary –  T cell types that take your breath away.

A new study has shown that targeting two immune cells—Th2 and Th17—and their downstream, inflammatory effects is better than targeting just one pathway in the context of asthma. The researchers also show that blocking the Th2 pathway, which is a target of commonly-prescribed corticosteroid drugs, may unexpectedly boost conditions for Th17-driven inflammation. These results clarify how immune cells and their products contribute to asthma, and the work may enable researchers to design and test therapies that target both pathways. The study appears in the August 19, 2015, edition of Science Translational Medicine and included scientists from NIAID, the University of Leicester, and Genentech.


CDC analysis again highlights HIV testing and treatment in prevention of new HIV cases #GetTested

A new press release from CDC shows that 9 out of 10 new U.S. HIV infections come from people not receiving HIV care. The release is based on a new CDC analysis and reinforces the importance of HIV testing and treatment for health and prevention.

The analysis showed that 30 percent of new HIV infections were transmitted from people who did not know that they were infected with the virus, highlighting the importance of getting tested. People who had been diagnosed were less likely to transmit their infection, in part because people who know they have HIV are more likely to take steps to protect their partners from infection.

FDA commisionner Margaret Hamburg schools us on measles and the measles vaccine!! #science

hamburgMargaret A. Hamburg, M.D., the Commissioner of Food and Drugs at the FDA, has written a terrific piece in response to the recent measles outbreak. Check it out here at the FDA blog. Hamburg emphasizes the importance of high vaccination rates, the safety of the vaccines, and the effectiveness of the vaccine!

In recent weeks we’ve seen an alarming outbreak of measles; a highly contagious and serious virus, especially in babies and young children who have not been vaccinated. This outbreak is particularly disturbing because measles was effectively eliminated from the United States in 2000 thanks to nearly universal vaccination, the single best way to prevent the spread of this disease.

Vaccination works with the body’s natural defenses to help it safely develop immunity to the measles. When more people are vaccinated, there are fewer opportunities for the disease to spread. A community generally needs more than ninety per cent of its members to be immunized against the virus in order to protect those who can’t be.

Before the first measles vaccine was approved in 1963, hundreds died from the disease each year. Others developed pneumonia, lifelong brain damage or deafness.

Let’s not return to these grim statistics. There is no shortage of measles vaccine. It should be used by everyone who has not been vaccinated to prevent measles and the potentially tragic consequences of the disease.

AsapSCIENCE video: 8 Sick Remedies That Actually Work – Scientifically! #science

8 Sick Remedies That Actually Work – Scientifically!

Which of your sick remedies are actually helping?
Watch Us Debunk 6 Sick MYTHS:

Written by Rachel Salt, Mitchell Moffit and Greg Brown
Instagram and Twitter: @whalewatchmeplz and @mitchellmoffit
Clickable: and

@UMR4NIH statement on proposed NIH and Medical Research budgets~! #Science


Great statement from United for Medical Research on proposed NIH budget and more – President Carrie Wolinetz

“We welcome President Obama’s FY16 budget proposal to increase National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding and eliminate harmful sequestration. NIH has fostered remarkable advancements in human health, but has suffered from inadequate funding for the past decade. Additional resources will help defeat our nation’s most harmful diseases — including cancer, heart disease and diabetes — and fuel job creation in the life sciences sector – a win-win.

“We also commend the president for his Precision Medicine proposal. Investing in precision medicine and NIH ‘patient-powered research’ will continue to transform how diseases are treated, harnessing the power of the human genome, heath informatics and medical imaging to better understand individual patients’ unique needs. Precision medicine is an extraordinary example of how previous research discoveries build the foundation from which to launch cutting edge medical advancement, illustrating how NIH funding of today saves lives both present and future.

“Given the many economic, societal and health benefits borne from investments in medical research, we call on lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to make increasing NIH funding and eliminating sequestration a top priority in FY16 and beyond.”

#Science Quotable: Carrie Wolinetz – President of @UMR4NIH


The release of the 21st Century Cures discussion draft represents a promising opportunity for passing meaningful legislation on National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding and policy. We applaud the leadership of Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI), Representative Diana DeGette (D-CO) and the House Committee on Energy and Commerce in seeking to accelerate advancements and innovations in medicine to more swiftly reach millions of patients awaiting new treatments and cures. Medical research funding has stalled over the past decade and, as such, the pace of discovery has suffered. The 21st Century Cures initiative will help restart its engine and ensure the U.S. keeps its title of world leader in medical innovation.

United for Medical Research looks forward to continuing to work with the Energy and Commerce Committee on this initiative and hopes together we can achieve the goal of investing in the future of medical research by providing NIH with the increased funding necessary for its lifesaving mission. – Carrie Wolinetz, PhD, President, United for Medical Research

September 18th #Ebola outbreak update: 2630 deaths and the first Ebola case in Senegal


The CDC has updated the number of reported cases of Ebola for today, September 18th. There is also a breakdown of cases by country, including the first case in Senegal, which ‘is related to a man who traveled there from Guinea.’ For updates on development of treatments and vaccines, go to the CDC page hereSee previous CauseScience posts related to the ongoing West African outbreak of Ebola.

Total Cases

(Updated September 18, 2014)

  • Total Case Count: 5347
  • Total Deaths: 2630
  • Laboratory Confirmed Cases: 3095
Cases by Country
  • Total Case Count: 942
  • Total Deaths: 601
  • Laboratory Confirmed Cases: 750
  • Total Case Count: 2710
  • Total Deaths: 1459
  • Laboratory Confirmed Cases: 812
  • Total Case Count: 21
  • Total Case Deaths: 8
  • Laboratory Confirmed Cases: 19
  • Total Case Count: 1
  • Total Case Deaths: 0
  • Laboratory Confirmed Cases: 1
Sierra Leone
  • Total Case Count: 1673
  • Total Case Deaths: 562
  • Laboratory Confirmed Cases: 1513

Update on #Ebola serum treatment: limited supply and too experimental #Fauci

After my post yesterday about the experimental serum treatment for Ebola Virus, there are 2 articles that answer some of the questions around this treatment and its use. In the post yesterday, I presumed that the supply of the untested antibody serum zMAPP is probably very limited. Today, reports confirmed that the CDC has stated that zMAPP supply is very limited:


“The manufacturer reports that there is a very limited supply, so it cannot be purchased and is not available for general use,” the agency said in a recently posted“Questions and Answers” page on the experimental treatment.

Another report out today includes statements from Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases of the NIH, on the experimental Ebola treatments:


Drugs under development will not be a big part of the solution… They are too early in development for enough doses to be manufactured, even if they are shown to be safe. The real area of focus, he said, should be setting up medical infrastructure in the affected countries to provide sick people with basic medical support such as replacement fluids and blood. That will have a much bigger effect on health than a few batches of experimental medications, he said.

This confirms that zMAPP and other experimental treatments for Ebola are in too short supply to be used to treat this outbreak, and that these are all too early in development to be ethically used.