Tag Archives: kaiser

Diverse gut bacteria associated with favorable ratio of estrogen metabolites

Since the 1970s, it has been known that in addition to supporting digestion, the intestinal bacteria that make up the gut microbiome influence how women’s bodies process estrogen, the primary female sex hormone. The colonies of bacteria determine whether estrogen and the fragments left behind after the hormone is processed continue circulating through the body or are expelled through urine and feces. Previous studies have shown that levels of estrogen and estrogen metabolites circulating in the body are associated with risk of developing postmenopausal breast cancer…

Shingles vaccine remains effective after chemotherapy

Researchers examined the electronic health records of more than 21,000 Kaiser Permanente patients in Southern California who were 60 years of age and older and received chemotherapy between January 2007 and December 2012. Researchers found that those patients who were previously vaccinated with zoster vaccine were 42 percent less likely to develop shingles following chemotherapy. In addition, no vaccinated patients underwent hospitalization for shingles, while six unvaccinated patients were hospitalized with the disease, according to the study…

BPA linked to higher risk for obesity among young girls

A chemical commonly found in plastic food containers, water bottles and canned foods called bisphenol-A (BPA) has long been linked to serious health issues, including infertility and birth defects.Now, researchers say exposure to BPA may also be associated with a higher risk for obesity among puberty-age girls. In a study published in the journal PLOS ONE, researchers measured the levels of BPA present in urine samples from 1,326 children between the ages of 9 and 12. Researchers discovered that girls who had higher levels of BPA in their urine had a greater risk for being overweight. The effect was not seen in the boys involved in the study. Girls who had more than 2 micrograms per liter of BPA in their urine were twice as likely to be overweight, compared to girls with below normal levels of BPA in their urine. And girls that had more than 10 micrograms of BPA per liter in their urine had a ten times greater risk for obesity. Dr. Di-Kun Le, the study’s principal investigator and a reproductive and perinatal epidemiologist at the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research in Oakland, Calif., has been studying the effects of BPA for years. “Animal (studies) started to show that BPA can impact metabolic processes, which often leads to obesity and diabetes,” Le told FoxNews.com. “So we decided to look at it (in humans).” Le noted that though he expected to find a link between obesity and BPA levels, he didn’t expect it to be such a strong correlation.   While the research does not necessarily prove BPA is the reason for the girls’ obesity, Le said that the effect is likely caused by the fact that BPA is an endocrine disrupter and acts similarly to the hormone estrogen, which impacts metabolic function. Because of the damage that BPA incurs on the endocrine system, Le believes exposure to BPA is contributing to the global obesity epidemic.   “Overeating a little won’t cause obesity, but (by) having this kind of endocrine damage without knowing it, and adding more food, the consequences are magnified,” Le said. Though Le said there are currently no Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations forcing manufacturers to label how much BPA is used in packaging, he hopes this research will add to the body of evidence mounting against the chemical. He warns that people should try to avoid products containing BPA as much as possible. “Buy BPA-free containers, particularly containers used for kids. Kids and fetuses are the most affected populations,” Le said. “Also try to reduce using plastics. It’s not feasible to use none, but reduce exposure to plastic containers…and reduce the use of canned foods.” Le hopes to study the effects of BPA further, by testing its impact on unborn babies. “I want to look when pregnant women, and their fetuses, are exposed to even small amounts of BPA, how it’s going to damage (them),” Le said. “When you damage the fetus, you damage the rest of their life.”source : http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/06/13/bpa-linked-to-higher-risk-for-obesity-among-young-girls/

After a decade, global AIDS program looks ahead

The decade-old law that transformed the battle against HIV and AIDS in developing countries is at a crossroads. The dream of future generations freed from epidemic is running up against an era of economic recovery and harsh budget cuts. The President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief grew out of an unlikely partnership between President George W. Bush and lawmakers led by the Congressional Black Caucus. It has come to represent what Washington can do when it puts politics aside - and what America can do to make the world a better place. President Barack Obama, speaking at the recent dedication of Bush's presidential library, praised the compassion Bush showed in “helping to save millions of lives and reminding people in some of the poorest corners of the globe that America cares.” House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said of Bush in a statement that “while many events may distinguish his presidency, his devotion to combatting the scourge of HIV/AIDS will certainly define his legacy.” The AIDS program's future, however, is uncertain. Obama has upped the stakes, speaking in his State of the Union address this year of “realizing the promise of an AIDS-free generation.” But funding for the relief plan's bilateral efforts has dipped in recent years and it's doubtful that Congress, in its current budget-cutting mood, will reverse that trend when the current five-year program expires later this year. The AIDS program is also trying to find a balance between its goals of reaching more people with its prevention and treatment programs and turning over more responsibility to the host nations where it operates. “This has been an incredible achievement,” said Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., a senior Congressional Black Caucus member who played major roles both in passing the original 2003 act and its 2008 renewal that significantly increased funding for AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis treatment in Africa and other areas of the developing world. She spoke of the more than 5 million people now receiving life-saving antiretroviral treatment and 11 million pregnant women who received HIV testing and counseling last year. “But I'm worried that with any type of level-funding or cuts we'll go backward,” she said. The 2008 act more than tripled funding from the 2003 measure, approving $48 billion over five years for bilateral and global AIDS programs, malaria and tuberculosis. It also ended U.S. policy making it almost impossible for HIV-positive people to get visas to enter the country. The AIDS program was the largest commitment ever by a nation to combat a single disease internationally. According to the U.N.'s UNAIDS and the Kaiser Family Foundation, in 2011 the United States provided nearly 60 percent of all international AIDS assistance. A decade ago, almost no one in sub-Saharan Africa was receiving antiretroviral treatment. By 2008, the AIDS program had boosted that number to 1.7 million. As of last year it was 5.1 million. The State Department says the program last year also helped provide treatment to some 750,000 HIV-positive pregnant women, allowing about 230,000 infants to be born HIV-free, supported 2 million male circumcisions and directly supported HIV testing and counseling for 46.5 million. “This is a remarkable story that the American people should know about,” Kimberly Scott of the Institute of Medicine, which recently completed an evaluation of the AIDS program, said at a forum sponsored by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the CSIS Global Health Policy Center. According to UNAIDS, the number of people living with HIV has leveled off, standing at about 34 million at the end of 2011. New infections that year reached 2.5 million, down 20 percent from 2001. AIDS-related deaths were 1.7 million, down from 2.3 million in 2005. Jennifer Kates, director of global health and HIV policy at Kaiser, said most countries where the program operates have yet to reach the “tipping point,” where new infections occurring in a year are less than the increase in people receiving treatment. Among the success stories were Ethiopia, where the 40,000 going on treatment in 2011 was almost four times the new infections. Still with a long way to go was Nigeria, which that year had 270,000 new HIV infections and a 57,000 increase in those getting treatment. Chris Collins, director of public policy at amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research, also warned of potential repercussions as the AIDS program shifts from being an emergency response to the AIDS epidemic to a more supportive role for country-based health programs. “The countries themselves largely are avoiding the important role that key populations play in epidemics,” he said, referring to gay men, those injecting drugs and sex workers. These groups face discrimination and criminal charges in many cases, and 90 percent of the money to help them now comes from external sources. Collins also spoke of the “huge mismatch” between the positive science and rhetoric on fighting AIDS and the money available. Since 2009 the funding for bilateral and global HIV and AIDS programs has largely stalled. Kaiser's Kates said that while there's still bipartisan support for the AIDS program in Congress, “the big question is will the financing be there to reach the goals” of treating more people and advancing toward that AIDS-free generation. “The challenge right now is that the global economic climate is different, the U.S. climate is different, but the need is still great.”source : http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/05/21/after-decade-global-aids-program-looks-ahead/