AIDS: proposal for widespread screening of the population.

AIDS: proposal for widespread screening of the population

The High Health Authority (HAS) recommends that screening the AIDS virus is systematically offered to the entire population, aged 15 to 70, in order to make up for France's "serious delay", where some 40,000 people are unaware that they are HIV-positive.

"It is not a question of organizing a massive screening in which we would pass the whole population, it is to trigger a reflex, especially among doctors," AFP Etienne Caniard, a member of the Collège de France, told AFP. the HAS. "There is nothing compulsory," he said.

Every year, France records 6,000 to 7,000 new infections with HIV.

Asked by the Directorate General of Health, the report on the HIV testing strategy was to be presented next week. After the revelations of the newspaper Libération, the HAS decided to put it on line Wednesday.

"The major element" that led the HAS to advocate a generalization of screening is the finding of "a significant delay," said Mr. Caniard. "People very often find out that they are HIV-positive, which poses huge individual and collective problems," he said.

This delay deprives them of access to effective treatments and exposes others to a significant risk of contamination, while treatments can lower the viral load and reduce contamination.

Populations identified as at risk are not the most concerned by the delay in screening, said Mr. Caniard. These are "people who are married, have children, are of a certain age, who may have practices that lead them to take risks, but who do not consider themselves to be at risk and therefore neglect the screening process. ".

At the same time, the HAS recommends to "amplify and better organize systematic screening for at-risk populations": men who have sex with men, heterosexual men with multiple partners, injecting drug users, people from high-risk areas prevalence like Sub-Saharan Africa or the Caribbean ...

Françoise Barré-Sinoussi, Nobel Prize in Medicine 2008, declared herself "in favor of voluntary testing, as long as it is not mandatory and based on accountability". "We feel empowered if we explain things to you," she told AFP on the sidelines of the International HIV Vaccine Conference in Paris.

A favorable opinion also from Jean-François Delfraissy, Director General of the National Agency for Research on AIDS, who estimated on France-Inter that "we must take into account the heterogeneity of the epidemic in France".

"Clearly, we have to move on screening proposals," he said, citing rapid screening tests or "screening proposals that are made by the community itself."

Asked about the risk of stigmatization, Mr. Caniard noted that "it still exists, but in a slightly different way from what we have seen". "When faced with an epidemic that was largely unanswered, the risk of stigmatization was much greater than it is today," he said.

"We continue to recommend all the precautions for screening around HIV: confidentiality, respect for the person," he said.

The HAS is an organization that makes recommendations, the decision-making being the responsibility of the Ministry of Health.

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An effective non-surgical technique to repair a heart valve.

An effective non-surgical technique to repair a heart valve.

A new non-surgical technique avoiding an operation to open heart, can effectively repair with a clamp a mitral valve failure, according to the results of a clinical trial presented Sunday.

This EVEREST II study (Endovascular Valve Edge-to-Edge Repair Study) was conducted with 279 patients in the United States and Canada to compare the effectiveness of this procedure called MitraClip with that of conventional surgery.

It is being presented at the 59th annual conference of the American College of Cardiology which brings together some 30,000 cardiologists, researchers and representatives from all major pharmaceutical companies this weekend in Atlanta, Georgia, South.

The MitraClip, a kind of clothespin, is introduced through a catheter into the femoral artery and helps keep the mitral valve in place to prevent leakage.

This valve separates the left atrium from the left ventricle of the heart. Its failures affect millions of people around the world and are responsible for many deaths.

"As physicians, we saw our transformed patients, able to function after this procedure without a long stay in hospital or a long recovery period," says Dr. Ted Feldman, of NorthShore University in Evanston, Illinois , North), who conducted the study.

After one year, the clinical efficacy of MitraClip and open-heart valve repair surgery was considered comparable, depending on mortality, new malfunction of the mitral valve or significant leakage.

According to these criteria, the clinical success of MitraClip was obtained by 72.4% of patients treated with this technique compared to 87.8% of those who underwent surgery.

MitraClip also has the advantage of significantly reducing the risk associated with heavy surgery and is also much less expensive.

These positive results of the last phase of the clinical trial should lead in 2011 to the marketing authorization of MitraClip in the United States.

Already marketed in Europe, the MitraClip was developed by the Californian firm Evalve, acquired by the American pharmaceutical group Abbott in 2009.

The opening of the US market could result in potential annual sales totaling about $ 1 billion, according to market analysts. MitraClip is the only system of this type available

Towards new chocolate treatments?

Towards new chocolate treatments?

Do you deprive more chocolate! According to a study conducted at Imperial College London, it would have many health benefits.

Often considered an act of gluttony, the consumption of chocolate proves to be good for health. First, this food contains a large amount of antioxidants that trap or neutralize free radicals. The latter are responsible for the destruction of the cells and are involved in certain degenerative diseases such as arthritis, multiple sclerosis, atherosclerosis [arteries clogged with cholesterol or lipids, ed], Alzheimer's ... These antioxidants also protect the skin ultraviolet rays.

In addition, chocolate is a source of theobromine. However, dark chocolate with a high cocoa content must be preferred (100 grams of white chocolate contain less than 0.1 mg, compared to 150 to 220 mg for milk chocolate and 450 to 1600 mg for dark chocolate). Theobromine is an alkaloid that has a positive effect on the mood of the consumer. Added to this is the presence of phenylethylamine, which also provides a feeling of well-being.

These effects are more or less known to the general public, but scientists at the University of Ghana's Faculty of Medicine have discovered new benefits to chocolate, to the point of advising him as a medical treatment. Dr. K.K. Atsina uses it as a complementary treatment for diabetes and hypertension, for example. Similarly, Professor Kwaku Addai advises drinking two to five chocolates every day to limit the chances of malaria.

The latter explains that before this "cure", he was contaminated by the disease at least once a year and that since he and his family follow his advice, no one is a victim.

Eye surgeon Dan Reinstein, a professor at Harley Street London Vision Clinic, urges his patients to eat as much chocolate as possible thirty minutes before surgery. According to the doctor, patients are less nervous and alert than those who receive sedatives. During a laser eye operation, good patient cooperation is very important and can significantly reduce the duration of the surgical procedure.

It has also been proven that chocolate has antidepressant effects. It can be used to increase serotonin and dopamine levels in the brain, both of which play a vital role in regulating mood. However, it is not necessary to wait for the advice of a psychiatrist to start eating chocolate on a daily basis, preferably black ... and in reasonable quantities of course.

Operate the brain with the help of the awake patient.

Operate the brain with the help of the awake patient

"Is everything OK, Gaël? You are in the operating room. Take another five minutes to wake up and then we will make you work. "Sitting behind his patient, which he has largely opened the cranial box, thus exposing a part of the brain, Professor Hugues Duffau speaks quietly.

A few minutes earlier, in full intervention, the neurosurgeon had asked the anesthetist to wake up the young man. In this phase, his collaboration will be essential to guide the surgical procedure. At first glance, the scene seems hallucinating. It is in fact a "waking surgery" operation, an innovative technique of neurosurgery of which Professor Duffau is one of the world specialists.

Gael has a low-grade glioma, a non-malignant but very poorly placed brain tumor that infiltrates the left temporal lobe, an area considered crucial for language. Without intervention, this tumor (which has already been revealed by an epileptic seizure) may eventually degenerate into cancer. But its ablation can induce language disorders ... The first neurosurgeons consulted refused to operate Gaël. For Professor Duffau, the challenge is to remove as much tissue as possible while preserving the quality of life of his patient, young and active.

"We all have a different brain. When lesions evolve slowly, the brain reorganizes itself. The anatomical data are not enough, those of functional imaging either, "justifies the neurosurgeon, stressing the importance of connection networks between neurons. The simple but revolutionary principle of waking surgery is to rely on an anatomical and functional mapping of the brain in real time, with tests (mental calculation, language ...) performed during the operation.

Lying on his side, Gaël looks attentively at the computer screen on which the speech therapist scrolls images. "This is a dog, this is a pear, this is an accordion ..." he enumerates in a first pasty voice, then more and more clear, perfectly focused. On the other side of the operative field, always of an Olympian calm, the neurosurgeon takes its bearings. Equipped with a small probe, which sends a current of low intensity, it stimulates the surface of the cortex point by point. By inducing transient disturbances, this technique can detect in real time the "crucial" regions that must be preserved at all costs. When Gaël begins to stumble on a word, or his flow slows down, Professor Duffau stops, and places a mini-label (sterile) in the brain on the corresponding area, to no longer touch it. Despite some headaches, this motivated patient will fully cooperate throughout the test, ie more than one hour! He is then back to sleep for the end of the procedure. In the end, after five hours of operation, a piece of brain the size of an orange was removed, but on waking, Gael will not suffer from speech disorders. The limits of excision were dictated by respect for brain function rather than by the physical boundaries of the tumor.

Brain plasticity

For fifteen years, first in Paris and now at Montpellier University Hospital, Professor Duffau has operated 350 patients, many of whom had been rejected by his colleagues, with a rate of permanent damage very low (less than 1% ). "Contrary to what we learn in books, it is possible to excise massive volumes in brain areas considered eloquent, without creating any deficit," he insists. Practiced by a few teams in the world, this technique, born in the United States, is proposed in some epilepsies, and primarily for low grade gliomas. In these particular tumors, which affect 700 to 800 people a year in France, usually young adults, the brain has time to reorganize deeply, contrary to what happens in case of stroke, where the deficit is installed brutally. This brain plasticity also allows Professor Duffau to be able to intervene several times in the same patient. "When we reoperate, we see changes in brain mapping, which is the absolute proof of plasticity," he says. After the operation, brain reorganization is also stimulated by early and intensive rehabilitation.

According to Professor Duffau, much remains to be done to finish decrypting brain function in vivo. Dozens of collaborations are in progress with French and foreign researchers. A program is thus initiated with the team of François Bonnetblanc, of the University Hospital of Dijon, in order to define the most relevant tests to evaluate motor skills during the intervention.

Hungry babies sniff their mother's milk.

Hungry babies sniff their mother's milk

French researchers have discovered that the substance produced by the glands on the areola of the mothers' breasts favored breastfeeding. Babies would detect the smell that would increase their appetite and encourage them to suckle.

It is difficult to resist the sweet aroma of food, from the youngest age. This is at least what researchers have demonstrated from the National Center for Scientific Research of Dijon. They discovered that the fluid produced by the areola glands of the mothers emitted a smell that stimulated the appetite of infants and guided them to the breast.

To arrive at such a conclusion, the scientists counted the number of glands located on the areoles of the breasts of 121 women three days after they gave birth. In fact, it had already been shown that the number of these structures called the areolar gland increased during pregnancy, and that they occasionally leaked small quantities of liquid. But so far, it was thought that the substance was used to lubricate the skin for breastfeeding. To find out more, Benoist Schaal and his team followed the mothers and their babies, observing how they breastfed and how their weight changed over time. They also noted the moment when mothers actually started producing breast milk instead of colostrum, the yellow "superlait" made right after birth.

In the end, they found that women with more than nine glands produced milk well before those who had less. In addition, their babies were gaining weight faster. This effect is particularly pronounced for those who were first-time mothers and for whom babies fed more frequently. Thus, they discovered that the odor of the substance released by the areolar glands actually encouraged three-day-old infants to suckle more. According to New Scientist findings, this process would then provide breastfeeding support to the less experienced "first" mothers.

A useful substance for very premature babies

In addition, the researcher Benoist Schaal emphasizes the importance of such a discovery as to the possibilities of applications. For example, if scientists were able to bottle this odor, the technique could be used to train the muscles of the mouth of infants too premature or too sick to feed. "It could help prepare the transition from tube feeding to sucking mother's nipple or bottle," says the researcher quoted by the Daily Mail. However, the substance derived from the areolar glands may not be the only factor that can promote breastfeeding, according to the experts.

Cells with three sets of chromosomes discovered.

Cells with three sets of chromosomes

Human embryonic stem cells were produced by nuclear transfer - as for the cloning of Dolly. However the researchers had to keep in place the genome of the oocyte used. The stem cells obtained thus have three sets of chromosomes.

Work published this week in the journal Nature demonstrates the feasibility of somatic cell nuclear transfer, a technique that can produce stem cells by replacing the nucleus of an oocyte, an unfertilized egg, with the nucleus of an adult cell somatic, for example a skin cell.

But according to researchers at the New York Stem Cell Foundation Laboratory, the development of these oocytes does not allow to reach the blastocyst stage, and thus the obtaining of embryonic stem cells (ESC). On the other hand, when the oocyte genome is conserved and the somatic cell chromosomes are added, their development continues until the blastocyst and the researchers have been able to derive ESCs.

After the controversy aroused by the announcement of the Korean Hwang Woo-suk in 2005, who had announced to have obtained human CSE with this method of nuclear transfer, and whose work was refuted. This is the first conclusive evidence that the somatic cell genome can be transferred into a human oocyte that will grow to a stage where CSE is obtained. The cells thus produced are on the other hand genetically abnormal, they indeed have three sets of chromosomes, they are triploid.

These cells are therefore not of immediate therapeutic interest because they can not be transplanted to living donors, their reactions being unknown. Nevertheless, the researchers believe that they have gone beyond a first step that will allow them to improve their technique to one day manufacture diploid stem cells with the same method, which Hwang Woo-suk announced.

Researchers succeed in blocking peanut allergy.

Researchers succeed in blocking peanut allergy

Researchers at the NorthWestern Private University ( Chicago) have managed to get around peanut allergy (peanuts). A news that will delight more than one ... because who does not know in his entourage near or far at least one person allergic to peanuts (and nuts)?

In the United States every year, there are between 15 000 and 30 000 anaphylactic shocks (extreme allergic reaction), which cause between 100 and 200 deaths. And of course no preventive treatment exists. From the first serious symptoms such as difficulty breathing, swelling, major rash, heart rate changes, etc ... the only solution is the bite of epinephrine (adrenaline).

But that does not solve the problem. An allergic person will not be able to eat peanut butter (more present, it is true, in homes in North America than in France).

American scientists have no doubt found an early solution, which already works in mice.

How? by deceiving the immune system. Because the danger in an allergic reaction is not the ingested food itself but rather the extreme reaction of the immune system. The researchers had the good idea to insert peanut proteins inside white blood cells, then to reintegrate them into the blood system of an allergic mouse. Her immune system then analyzed this new finding in a known blood cell, and cataloged it as safe (this is the same principle that is already used to treat autoimmune diseases). With this new added tolerance, the mouse did not have any anaphylactic shock when given peanuts. The allergic mouse was no longer allergic ...

It remains now to move from the mouse to the man ... It is not won but it is not impossible either.

Burmese python to fight against heart disease.

Burmese python to fight against heart disease

American researchers published a study that suggests that python Burmese, one of the largest snakes in the world, could help develop new treatments to fight against human heart disease.

The Burmese python is a snake up to nine meters long and weigh up to 90 kilograms. Capable of swallowing a doe or even an alligator, this reptile secretes fatty acids with real cardiac properties. Indeed, previous studies have shown that the heart mass of Burmese pythons increased by 40% in the 24 to 72 hours after a large meal and that the activity of their metabolism was multiplied by four immediately after having swallowed their prey.

Pythons, who can fast for a year with few adverse effects on their health, see their heart almost double in size after a meal. Thus, while this increase in cardiac muscle mass is similar in some athletes, scientists believe that studying the heart of pythons could greatly assist in research that aims to improve human heart health.

For example, a team from the University of Colorado, looking more closely at these reptiles, found that pythons produced triglyceride levels 50 times higher than normal one day after they had swallowed their prey. These fatty acids are the main element to form natural fats and oils, reminds TV5 monde.

A healthy heart despite the fats

But the most surprising for the researchers, was to note that these fats, although very abundantly present, left no deposit in the heart. They also indicate, in their publication published today in the journal Science, have been able to measure the increase of an enzyme, called superoxide dismutase, well known for its powerful protective effects on the heart muscle, including in humans.

To carry out their research, the scientists then initially injected a liquid containing a composition similar to that of the blood plasma of pythons in full digestion to pythons kept fasting. After these injections, snakes showed a marked increase in heart and indications of good heart health. Then by repeating the same operation, on mice this time, the same cardiac results were observed with notably an increase in the size of the heart.

A beneficial heart enlargement

"We have discovered that a certain combination of fatty acids can have a favorable effect on heart growth in living organisms," says Cecilia Riquelme, lead author of the study. "Now we are trying to understand the molecular mechanism behind this process and hope that the results will lead to new therapies to better treat human cardiovascular disease," she adds.

"If diseases can cause a thickening of the heart muscle and a reduction of the heart chambers resulting from the fact that it works more to pump blood, enlargement resulting from vigorous exercise is a good thing," says Leslie Leinwand , professor of biology at the University of Colorado who led this work.

"There are a lot of people who are not able to exercise because they have heart disease," says the biologist, adding that it would be "good to develop a treatment that can induce the growth of cardiac cells "in these patients.

New cancer vaccine to boost immune system delivers excellent results.

New "cancer vaccine" to boost immune system delivers excellent results

American researchers have developed a revolutionary treatment to fight cancer. Based on a stimulation of the immune system, the method that can be likened to an anti-cancer "vaccine" promises results of formidable effectiveness. With almost no side effects, it is able, in the mouse for the moment, to eliminate both a tumor and all of its metastases. An unprecedented feat made possible by a simple localized injection.

Despite the current huge medical progress, a scourge is still very difficult to eradicate: cancer. Whatever the causes, lifestyle, diet or environment, the fact remains that tumors continue to endanger the lives of millions of patients around the world. Recently, a treatment of a new kind nevertheless offers the hope of eventually leading, one day, to a total disappearance of the disease.

Current treatments are numerous, and more and more efficient. Conventional chemotherapy gradually leaves room for innovative methods of immunotherapy, which nevertheless retain a number of disadvantages. Long and expensive, such approaches do not spare patients, in addition, serious side effects.

Published yesterday in the journal Science Translational Medicine, the work of researchers from the faculty of medicine at Stanford University in the United States may well revolutionize the treatment of cancer. And for good reason, the method developed by American scientists is able to stop both the development of the tumor itself, but also that of its metastases, tumor cells that grow away from the main site of the disease.

Local and generalized effects

The technique applies, however, directly, only to the area of ​​origin of the cancer. It consists of the injection directly into the tumor, a tiny amount of a substance composed of two agents capable of locally stimulating the immune system. The duo of substances has the power to reactivate cancer-specific T lymphocytes, cells designed to stop development, but which are unfortunately put to sleep within the tumor itself. "Our approach uses a unique application of very small amounts of two agents to stimulate immune cells only inside the tumor itself," says Dr. Ronald Levy, professor of oncology at Stanford University and a member of the team behind the innovation.

A few micrograms of this promising antidote therefore seem to be enough to eliminate the tumor mass and its widespread metastases in the body. The effectiveness of the mechanism is at least for now at least proven in mice, rodents on which scientists have tested their new "cancer vaccine".

An incredible cure rate

The researchers recovered 87 of the 90 guinea pigs involved in the experimental treatment. A great success that is explained by the nature and mode of action of the two substances involved. The first is none other than a "CpG oligonucleotide", a specific DNA molecule with a single strand. Its ally, meanwhile, takes the form of an antibody, a protein of the immune system capable of neutralizing pathogens.

Hand in hand, the two agents will both stimulate the T cells trapped in the tumor, but also allow the release of a portion of them in the body, to other cells affected by cancer. A double effect that ultimately leads to the destruction of the tumor itself, but also its distant metastases, the guarantee of permanently eliminating cancer.

Based on the stimulation of the immune system, which the body is naturally endowed with, the method has very few side effects. Its universal character also promises the treatment of a multitude of types of cancers. "I do not think there is a limit to the types of tumors we could potentially treat, as long as they have been infiltrated by the immune system," says Professor Ronald Levy.

A success in animals that requires, however, to be confirmed for humans. To ensure this, US researchers initiated a clinical trial of fifteen patients with a particular type of mildly aggressive cancer, low-grade lymphoma. If they prove conclusive, these experiments could pave the way for a more effective and less painful cancer treatment for patients. Oncological medicine may well be at the dawn of a revolution.

We will soon make our medication at home



Since the mid-nineteenth century, tablets are produced by mixing various ingredients and compacting the powder obtained between two punches or with a press. Now the assembly can be done with a 3D printer, which deposits the ingredients layer by layer.

In 2015, the US Health Authority, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), gave the green light to the commercialization of a first drug manufactured using a 3D printer. This medication is Spritam for the treatment of epilepsy.

Researchers at the University of Singapore have created a 3D printer that makes custom pills ...

Medications that need to be taken at different times of the day, and at different dosages, are assembled into a single tablet.

MIT has developed an autonomous unit capable of producing 4 very common drugs (Benadryl, Valium, Prozac, and lidocaine, a local anesthetic). This machine can be very useful for emergency situations.

If the growth of 3D printing of drugs is confirmed, the economic models of the pharmaceutical industry will be deeply shaken: it is therefore necessary that the players are preparing upstream to mitigate the risk of disintermediation.

Vincent Genet Associate Director of Alcimed


No more medicine cabinets overflowing with outdated medicine boxes, the archaic object is replaced by a 3D printer.

A medical prescription, the machine prints personalized medicines that mix different molecules and adapts the dosages very precisely. With this single catch, we also put in the trash the pilluliers.

We are injured, the printer prints a bandage that activates the healing process and reduces the risk of infection. It can also be programmed to print an adhesive to pick up the bones of a connected lens that measures the blood glucose level.

RISK Over-consumption of drugs

This manufacturing is likely to increase the production of counterfeit drugs already very important. The IRACM (the International Institute for Anti-Counterfeit Drug Research) considers that today 62% of medicines sold on the Internet are counterfeit. Clandestine producers include 10%, not 100% of the active ingredients. The most dangerous fraudulent drugs are those intended to treat serious diseases, such as malaria, which mainly occurs in sub-Saharan Africa.

The device will promote the manufacture of dangerous and illegal drugs and the abuse of drugs.