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WASHINGTON (AFP) – US health authorities are hoping to contain what they say is an intensifying swine flu pandemic with a massive A(H1N1) vaccination campaign starting this week.
“We expect Friday in our weekly update of FluView that we will be reporting substantial flu illness in most of the country, significant flu activity in virtually all states,” said Anne Schuchat, director of the Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
A nurse fills syringes with influenza vaccine at a drive-thru flu shot clinic in Napa, California
“Most states do have quite a lot of disease right now, and that is unusual for this time of the year,” she said at a press conference on Friday evening.
Schuchat reiterated the importance of vaccination for pregnant women and other groups considered particularly vulnerable to the virus, including children, young adults up to 24 years old, and those suffering from certain other chronic medical problems.
US health authorities on Friday announced plans for a massive vaccination campaign intended to protect millions of Americans, with the first distribution of 600,000 vaccine doses set for Tuesday, two weeks ahead of schedule.
The United States expects to quickly dispense some six or seven million doses and hopes to administer 250 million doses by the end of the year.
CDC: How to Prevent Getting and Spreading H1N1 Flu
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By David Brown, Washington Post Staff Writer—Two European research teams have identified three genes that affect a person’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, the most common cause of dementia in the elderly.
The new genes appear to have at least as big a role as four others discovered in the last 15 years that are known to play a role in Alzheimer’s.
“The message here is that genes are important in Alzheimer’s disease . . . and there may be multiple ways of reducing the risk that the genes produce,” said Julie Williams, a neuroscientist at Cardiff University in Wales who helped lead one of the teams.
All so-called “Alzheimer genes” have normal roles in brain physiology; they don’t exist solely to cause dementia. Instead, small variations in their DNA alter their function and, through processes only now being uncovered, increase or reduce a person’s risk of developing the disease.
Two of the genes described in the new research may be involved in determining the brain’s capacity to clear itself of toxic “amyloid” proteins that collect outside neurons, eventually poisoning them.
The most important previously known Alzheimer gene promoted overproduction of amyloid. The new findings suggest that at least two processes — production of amyloid and its removal — are involved in the disease.
At least 5 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease. By one estimate, one in seven people aged 72 and older have dementia, with Alzheimer’s the most common form.
Filed under Medicine, News