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Nov 10, 2003 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- VACCINE MAY PREVENT TB IN HIV PATIENTS

A new vaccine may help prevent tuberculosis in patients infected with the AIDS virus, researchers report. The scientists from Dartmouth Medical School and the National Public Health Institute of Finland said in the journal AIDS the new booster, a killed vaccine, enhanced HIV patients' immunity to the potentially fatal lung disease. The team, led by Dr. C. Fordham von Reyn, professor of medicine at Dartmouth, said the patients' weakened immune system makes using the current live vaccine risky. TB remains the world's No. 1 infectious killer. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases calls it "the major attributable cause of death" in HIV/AIDS patients. "Since there is no evidence that the current (live) vaccine protects patients with HIV against TB, we have been working on a new strategy to immunize persons with HIV against TB, safely and effectively," von Reyn said. The team revived the previous strategy of administering a killed vaccine against TB, and found it to be safe and effective in AIDS patients.


If you have a nasty cold, it's best to avoid air travel, but when you can't, there are ways to minimize any associated health risks, scientists say. The tiny Eustachian tube that connects your throat and your middle ear often is blocked during a cold. Normally, the tube equalizes the air pressure buildup in the middle ear with the changing air pressure in the airplane. Blockage can result in unequal pressure, causing pain or possible injury to the eardrum. If you must fly with a cold, the Mayo Clinic Health Letter lists these tips:

-Use a nasal decongestant spray or oral decongestant an hour before takeoff.

-Avoid drinking alcoholic beverages, opting for non-alcoholic drinks instead.

-Chew gum or suck on candy to encourage swallowing, which may help open the Eustachian tube.

-Use earplugs with a filter to slow the rate of air-pressure change on the eardrum.


Researchers are questioning recent evidence that indicates drinking small to moderate amounts of alcohol may stave off heart problems, stroke and dementia. The Mayo Clinic Health Letter points out all studies involving alcohol and its impact on health have been observational, looking back at how various factors affect people's health or observing a group over time. So far, no study has turned up a scientifically proven cause and effect between alcohol use and health benefits, the letter notes. Without stronger evidence, don't count on your doctor advising you to drink to your health. If you do imbibe, a safe amount depends on your age and gender. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism recommends men under age 66 should have no more than two drinks a day. Women or anyone over 65 should not have more than one drink a day. Alcohol is processed more slowly in older people, the researchers say.


Vitamin K, which helps coagulate blood, may play an important role in keeping bones strong and healthy, researchers say. The Mayo Clinic Health Letter points out a deficiency in the vitamin has been linked to increased risk of hip fractures in the elderly. Also, studies have shown women who took vitamins D and K for two years showed increased bone density. You can get your fix of vitamin K from such foods as spinach, broccoli and Brussels sprouts. For women, the recommended daily dose is 90 micrograms; for men, 120 mcg. People who take blood-thinning medications such as warfarin (Coumadin) are cautioned the vitamin may thwart the medicine's effectiveness.

(Editors: For more information about HIV, contact Andy Nordhoff at (603) 650-1492 or For COLD Carol Lammers at (507) 284-5037 or For DRINK, Erik Kaldor at (904) 953-2299. For VITAMIN, Anne Tewksbury at (480) 301-4368)

Copyright 2003 by United Press International.

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