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Briefs: Testing of swine flu vaccines on humans begin

Human trials of SWINe FLU VACCINEs begin

Swiss drugmaker Novartis has begun injecting its swine flu vaccine into people in the company's first human tests, a spokesman said Wednesday. The vaccine is being tested in a yearlong trial in Britain, Germany and the United States, but will likely be on the market before the trial finishes. Meanwhile, Sanofi-Pasteur expects to start testing its swine flu vaccine within days in the United States and Europe. Trials are testing the vaccine's safety and whether one or two shots are necessary. European and U.S. regulators have a fast-track process for approving swine flu vaccine, to ensure it is available before the flu season starts in the fall, when swine flu is expected to surge. Since swine flu emerged in April, it has killed at least 1,154 people worldwide and is estimated to have infected millions.

Women's exercise affects cholesterol

Women who did as little as one extra hour a week of moderate physical activity — like a brisk walk — had lower levels of harmful cholesterol than those who exercised less, according to a nine-year study of almost 9,000 fairly sedentary middle-aged adults. The study is one of the first to find a link between exercise and significant decreases in LDL, or "bad," cholesterol, said the lead author, Keri L. Monda, a postdoctoral fellow in epidemiology at the University of North Carolina. The study did not find the decreases in men, however. The study appears in the Journal of Lipid Research.

High cholesterol and dementia

Adults who had just slightly elevated blood cholesterol when they were in their early 40s were at greater risk of developing dementia decades later, compared with those whose cholesterol was at optimal levels, a new study has found. While earlier studies have shown an association between high cholesterol in midlife and dementia, "we were surprised to see the association with borderline levels," said Rachel A. Whitmer, an epidemiologist with the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research and the paper's senior author. The study followed 9,844 members of the Kaiser Permanente Northern California Medical Group. Those whose total blood cholesterol had been high between ages 40 and 45 were 57 percent more likely to have developed Alzheimer's disease. Those with borderline cholesterol (200 to 239 milligrams per deciliter) were at 50 percent greater risk of vascular dementia. The study is online in Dementia & Geriatric Cognitive Disorders.

Drinking worsens prostate cancer

A study of 10,920 men over seven years found that of those who developed prostate cancer, the men who had an average of four or more drinks a day five days a week in the year before diagnosis were more than twice as likely to have developed a more aggressive type of prostate cancer than those who did not drink heavily. No link was found between prostate cancer and more moderate drinking in the study, published online in Cancer.

Compiled from Times wires

Briefs: Testing of swine flu vaccines on humans begin 08/05/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, August 5, 2009 6:24pm]
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