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As Ebola Rages, Controlling The Deadly Spread

The outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus in West Africa has Americans concerned about their health and safety. The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared an international public health emergency in an effort both to contain the spread of the virus, which is considered 90% fatal, and to warn people about its seriousness.

A WHO official has said it is likely that the worst of the outbreak is yet to come.

At major entry points to the United States, including Newark Liberty and Kennedy International Airports, government workers are on alert in case incoming travelers who have been to West Africa show signs of illness and need to be quarantined. Federal, state and local health officials, as well as hospitals, have established detailed protocols for handling possible cases, taking advantage of a sophisticated public health infrastructure that poorer countries lack.

Device Implanted For Tricuspid Valve Replacement: First In United States

The University of Michigan Frankel Cardiovascular Center is the first heart center in the nation to perform percutaneous implantation of the Edwards SAPIEN valve to replace a patient’s tricuspid valve.

Percutaneous interventions use hollow tubes called catheters to reach chambers of the heart rather than opening a patient’s chest, and are increasingly used to fix heart valves.

Cardiac surgeon Steven Bolling, MD, interventional cardiologist Stanley Chetcuti, MD; interventional cardiologist Daniel Menees, MD, and cardiac surgeon Matthew Romano, MD, successfully completed the procedure Aug. 11.

Fungus Deadly To AIDS Patients Found To Grow On Trees

Researchers have pinpointed the environmental source of fungal infections that have been sickening HIV/AIDS patients in Southern California for decades. It literally grows on trees.

The discovery is based on the science project of a 13-year-old girl, who spent the summer gathering soil and tree samples from areas around Los Angeles hardest hit by infections of the fungus named Cryptococcus gattii (CRIP-to-cock-us GAT-ee-eye).

Cryptococcus, which encompasses a number of species including C. gattii, causes life-threatening infections of the lungs and brain and is responsible for one third of all AIDS-related deaths.

Laser-Based Glucose Monitor Could End Pin Pricks For Diabetics

Researchers have developed a way to use a laser to measure people’s blood sugar, and, with more work to shrink the laser system to a portable size, the technique could allow diabetics to check their condition without pricking themselves to draw blood.

“We are working hard to turn engineering solutions into useful tools for people to use in their daily lives,” said Claire Gmachl, the Eugene Higgins Professor of Electrical Engineering and the project’s senior researcher. “With this work we hope to improve the lives of many diabetes sufferers who depend on frequent blood glucose monitoring.”

New Gluten-Free Ingredient May Cause Allergic Reaction

A popular new ingredient in gluten-free products could be causing an allergic reaction, according to a Kansas State University food safety specialist.

Lupin, a legume belonging to the same plant family as peanuts, is showing up as a wheat replacement in an increasing number of gluten-free products. The US Food and Drug Administration is now issuing an alert, urging consumers with peanut and soybean allergies to read labels before buying these products.

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