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Posted - Oct. 3, 2003 at 8:05 a.m.



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Oct 03, 2003 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- GARLIC EXTRACT MAY HELP HEART

Research suggests taking aged garlic extract can help reduce the risk of developing heart disease. For menopausal women, it could prove a life-saver, doctors said. As females mature, they face an increased danger of cardiac disease, especially after menopause. Aged garlic extract helps protect the heart in this population, said Dr. Matthew Budoff of the University of California, San Francisco, who presented the findings at the annual meeting of the North American Menopause Society in Miami Beach. Fla. Once touted as a protector of aging hearts, traditional hormone-replacement therapy has come under fire recently, causing many women to seek drug-free alternatives, researchers said.

TREATMENT EFFECTIVE AGAINST FUNGAL INFECTIONS

Studies show the antifungal treatment voriconazole is more effective and less costly than the standard treatment for invasive aspergillosis. The infection can be fatal for patients with compromised immune systems, said the researchers, who reported their findings at the Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy. The studies showed patients initially treated with voriconazole had better outcomes and incurred lower antifungal drug costs than patients treated initially with the prior "gold standard therapy" amphotericin B, researchers said.

BLUE LIGHT CAN SET BIOLOGICAL CLOCK

Researchers have found the body's biological clock is more sensitive to blue light than to green, which is needed to see. The discovery proves what scientists have suspected over the past decade: a second, non-visual photoreceptor system drives the body's internal clock, which sets sleep patterns and other physiological and behavioral functions.

"This discovery will have an immediate impact on the therapeutic use of light for treating winter depression and circadian disorders," said George Brainard, professor of neurology at the Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia. "Some makers of light therapy equipment are developing prototypes with enhanced blue light stimuli."

DRIVING OUT HIV

Researchers have devised a way to switch on and drive hibernating HIV out of the body's hiding places. Dr. Jerry Zack of the University of California, Los Angeles, AIDS Institute says the method enables the immune system to kill the virus without harming healthy cells. Zack's findings suggest a possible way to kill the hidden virus so HIV-positive patients eventually could discontinue antiretroviral drugs, doctors said. "Our findings show potential for flushing HIV out of its hiding places in the body," Zack said. "If our method proves successful, it may enable HIV-infected individuals to discontinue costly and complex antiretroviral therapy, which can cause serious side effects." The study is reported in the journal Immunity.

(Editors: For more information about GARLIC, contact Dasha Davis at (800) 999-4859, ext. 262 or davis@mediarelations.com. For FUNGAL, Will Sansom at (210) 567-2570. For BLUE, Phyllis Fisher at (215) 955-6300. For HIV, call (302) 206-1960)

Copyright 2003 by United Press International.

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