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Posted - Dec. 23, 2003 at 7:40 a.m.



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Dec 23, 2003 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- ANTIVIRAL CAN KEEP HIV SPREAD IN CHECK

Antiretroviral therapy for HIV-infected San Francisco residents in the late 1990s cut their risk of infecting partners by 60 percent, a study shows. The survey, conducted by researchers from the San Francisco Department of Public Health and the University of California, San Francisco, shows while the drug use reduced the risk of HIV transmission, there was, at the same time, an increase in risky behavior. "(That) meant that rates of new infections did not decline sharply, but remained roughly stable for the period studied," said study author Travis Porco, an epidemiologist with SFDPH at the time of the study, published in the journal AIDS. "While our findings confirm that treatment of HIV-infected individuals can have quite a significant impact on the spread of AIDS, they also show that treatment needs to be accompanied by prevention interventions to reduce risky behavior in order to see the benefit in reduced rates of new HIV infections in the community," said Dennis Osmond, UCSF professor of epidemiology and biostatistics.

STRESS CAN CAUSE ORAL PROBLEMS

Anxiety disorders, such as phobias, panic attacks, generalized anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder, can have oral health implications. Scientists say these conditions can promote dental cavities, periodontal disease, and bruxism, or teeth grinding. They say these conditions can be treated with a variety of methods. They urge patients to consider the oral consequences of failing to maintain good overall health.

DRUG MAY HELP COCAINE ADDICTS

The anti-spasticity medication baclofen may serve as a treatment for cocaine addicts, doctors say. No medication has Food and Drug Administration approval for treating cocaine addiction. A University of California, Los Angeles, Neuropsychiatric Institute study, reported in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, shows baclofen used along with substance abuse counseling cut cocaine use in recovering addicts, compared to use of a therapeutically useless placebo coupled with counseling. The study was funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. "The research shows for the first time, using scientifically rigorous methods, that baclofen can help people reduce their cocaine use when they are in drug abuse counseling," said study author Steven Shoptaw, clinical psychologist at UCLA. "Our findings give us a strong starting place to conduct more definite studies on whether this medication can help cocaine addicts when used outside controlled research clinics."

STUDY SAYS COMMON BREAST CANCER DOSE TOO LOW

A study of nearly 21,000 women with early stage breast cancer shows more than half received too little chemotherapy, a study shows. The study, reported in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, found 55 percent of the women studied received less than 85 percent of their recommended chemotherapy dose. Research has shown 85 percent is the threshold below which chemo begins to lose its efficacy, scientists point out. Also, the women's chemotherapy was delayed by chemo side effects that are preventable, such as neutropenia, a dangerously low white blood cell count, they said. Delays in chemo have been shown to affect survival When a patient's chemo treatment is delayed, cancerous tumors re-grow rapidly, stymying treatment and survival, said lead investigator Dr. Gary Lyman of The University of Rochester.

(EDITORS: For more information about HIV, contact Jeff Sheehy at (415) 597-8165 or jsheehy@psg.ucsf.edu. For STRESS, Susan Urbanczyk at (312) 440-4308 or susanu@agd.org. For COCAINE, Dan Page at (310) 794-2265 or dpage@support.ucla.edu. For CANCER, Ann Benner at (415) 643-1101 or abenner@ccapr.com)

Copyright 2003 by United Press International.

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