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Oct 01, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- LUBRICANT MAY STOP SPERM, MICROBES

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has given Instead Inc. permission to market the lubricant Amphora, which may stop sperm and microbes. Amphora, applied vaginally, was shown in early tests to immobilize sperm for up to eight hours. It also was shown in laboratory tests to inactivate certain sexually transmitted organisms, including gonococci, which causes gonorrhea, herpes, chlamydia and the AIDS virus HIV. Teri Hirschfeld, vice president and general manager, said it will take wider clinical trials to show the effectiveness of Amphora's microbicidal properties. However, the company hopes to receive clearance soon to market a new Amphora-based contraceptive. "We are currently conducting tests combining Amphora with a version of our Instead Softcup," she said. "This combination could provide women with a safe and discreet over-the-counter barrier contraceptive."


Vanderbilt University scientists say a diluted smallpox vaccine still appears to be effective so the current stockpile could be expanded to avoid shortages. The researchers report in the Journal of the American Medical Association they found diluted doses of the vaccine originally manufactured in the 1950s and stored frozen retain nearly 100 percent effectiveness. Smallpox vaccination can prevent disease before and after exposure to the virus., they say. In 2002, the United States resumed limited vaccination, and in 2003 the military successfully inoculated more than 500,000 soldiers. However, the current supply falls short of the Department of Health and Human Services goal of having one dose for every U.S. citizen. In their test, Dr. Thomas Talbot of the Vanderbilt School of Medicine in Nashville, Tenn., and colleagues injected 340 healthy volunteers with one of three strengths of the smallpox vaccine: undiluted, a 1 to 5 dilution or a 1 to 10 dilution. Of all the vaccinated individuals, 99.4 percent had successful vaccinations, the scientists found.


In a British study, the drug galantamine, used to treat dementia, showed little benefit for patients with chronic fatigue syndrome. There is no current treatment for CFS, a complex disorder characterized by long-term disability, the study authors said. Because galantamine hydrobromide has been shown to improve sleep quality, researchers speculated it might benefit CFS patients. However, Dr. C.V. Russell Blacker of the University of Exeter in England and colleagues found in their study of 434 CFS patients at 35 European and U.S. centers there was no statistically significant difference after 16 weeks between the groups receiving galantamine and those getting a therapeutically worthless placebo.


Boston researchers have found being overweight is an even stronger predictor of diabetes in women than leading a sedentary lifestyle. Dr. Amy Weinstein, formerly of Brigham and Women's Hospital, and colleagues report in the Journal of the American Medical Association their study of 37,878 women defined normal weight as a body mass index, a weight-height ratio, of less than 25, overweight at 25 to less than 30 and obesity at 30 or higher. A 5-foot, 4-inch woman would have a BMI of 25 if she weighed 145 pounds and a BMI of 30 if she weighed 174 lbs. The researchers found, individually, BMI and physical activity could predict the risk of developing diabetes, but the relation to overweight was greater. Compared with normal-weight individuals, overweight women had a 3.2 times increased risk and obese ones, a 9.1 times increased risk. "We observed a modest reduction in the risk of diabetes with increasing physical activity level compared with a large increase in the risk with increasing BMI," the authors wrote. "These findings underscore the critical importance of adiposity (level of fat content) as a determinant of type 2 diabetes." The researchers recommend being active and losing weight to a healthy level as a measure to guard against diabetes.

(Editors: For more information about LUBRICANT, contact Ariel Cassady at (214) 521-8596, ext. 240. For SMALLPOX, Clinton Colmenares at (615) 322-4747. For FATIGUE, C.V. Russell Blacker at For DIABETES, Amy Smith at (617) 534-1603)

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.


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